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Adequate vitamin D reduces risk of gum disease.

Vitamin D has been shown to play an important role in bone health and in reducing risk of certain cancers. This vitamin, which vegetarians get from fortified foods and through sun exposure, also appears to help reduce risk of gum disease, especially in older people. Gum disease can cause tooth loss and may even increase risk of heart disease. Certainly proper dental care, brushing, and flossing can reduce risk of developing gum disease. There is also evidence that dietary choices can affect gum health.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) was conducted between 1988 and 1994 to examine the health of people in the U.S. One part of this study was to look at people's dental health, including examining their gums for bleeding and other problems. Levels of vitamin D in their blood were also measured. In people age 50 and older, those with the highest blood vitamin D levels had the lowest rate of gum disease. Older adults do not produce as much vitamin D in their skin as do younger adults, so they must rely on other sources of vitamin D. Good sources of vitamin D for vegans include vitamin D-fortified soymilk or rice milk, some fortified cereals, and vitamin D supplements.

Dietrich T, Joshipura KJ, Dawson-Hughes B, et al. 2004. Association between serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 and periodontal disease in the US population. Am J Clin Nutr 80:108-13.
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Title Annotation:Scientific update: a review of recent scientific papers related to vegetarian
Author:Mangels, Reed
Publication:Vegetarian Journal
Date:Jan 1, 2005
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