The sun often gets villainized. It is true that overexposure to its UVA and UVB rays can lead to issues like burns, premature signs of aging, and even cancer. However, that does not mean you should hide indoors all the time. A little bit of time in the sun could actually help you gain a healthier smile! How is that the case? This blog post provides the answer.
The Amazing Power of Vitamin D
When the sun’s UVB rays hit your skin, they interact with a special protein in your body. That protein then gets converted into vitamin D3, which has significant benefits for oral health. In fact, vitamin D can:
- Aid calcium absorption. Calcium is absolutely essential for strong bones and teeth. Unfortunately, the human body can only absorb it properly if adequate amounts of vitamin D are present.
- Reduce the risk of tooth decay. Some research suggests that with enough vitamin D, you could cut your risk of tooth decay by as much as 50%.
- Support your immune system. Vitamin D plays a role in fighting inflammation and lowering the risk of infections. Therefore, it can be a powerful ally in your quest to prevent gum disease.
How Much Sunlight Do You Need?
An estimate published by the National Institutes of Health states that approximately 25% of U.S. adults have a vitamin D deficiency. If you suspect that you may be in that group, you should take steps to increase your vitamin D levels. One simple thing you can do is spend more time in the sunlight.
The exact amount of time that you should spend outdoors depends on a few factors, such as where you live, how much melanin is in your skin, how much of your skin is exposed, and what time of day you are outside. Generally speaking, most people require less than 30 minutes of midday sun exposure to get enough vitamin D. If you have fair skin, you might need less than 10 minutes.
Please note that sunscreen can interfere with vitamin D production. Therefore, it might be wise to spend a bit of time outdoors without any SPF on your skin. Thereafter, though, you should be certain to practice adequate sun protection measures.
Other Ways to Get Vitamin D
Due to your schedule or the weather in your local area, it might be impractical for you to get your vitamin D from sun exposure. Fortunately, you can also get this important nutrient through your diet. For example, milk, eggs, and fatty fishes are all good sources. You could also consider taking a daily vitamin D3 supplement.
Are you spending enough time in the sun? Whether you are taking a walk or lounging by the pool, a bit of daily outdoor recreation could be fantastic for your smile!
Meet the Practice
New Haven Dental Group has a long history of providing top-quality oral care to the communities we serve. If you have questions about the steps you can take to reduce your risk of gum disease, cavities, and oral cancer, we are ready to advise you. Contact our Woodbridge office at 203-409-2535.