Mum's vitamin D during pregnancy strengthens kid's teeth

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Vitamin Vitamin d

Higher intakes of vitamin D during pregnancy may lead to stronger
teeth in children, according to researchers from University of
Manitoba, Canada.

High blood levels of vitamin D, related milk consumption and prenatal vitamin use, were associated with lower incidence of caries in the children, according to research presented at the International Association for Dental Research meeting in Toronto, Canada. has not seen the full data. "This study shows for the first time that maternal vitamin-D levels may have an influence on the primary dentition and the development of early-childhood-caries,"​ wrote Robert Schroth in the research abstract. Vitamin D is produced in the body on exposure to sunlight. Dietary sources of vitamin D provide relatively low doses. In the US, where over 1.5 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, experts are pushing supplements, claiming recommendations for sun exposure are "highly irresponsible". Vitamin D refers to two biologically inactive precursors - D3, also known as cholecalciferol, and D2, also known as ergocalciferol. Both D3 and D2 precursors are hydroxylated in the liver and kidneys to form 25- hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), the non-active 'storage' form, and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)2D), the biologically active form that is tightly controlled by the body. New findings ​ Schroth and co-workers recruited 206 pregnant women during their second trimester, and assessed dietary habits using questionnaires. Blood samples were taken in order to measure vitamin D levels as 25(OH)D. The average 25(OH)D blood level was 48.1 nanomoles per litre, while 34.5 per cent of the women were vitamin D deficient, defined as levels 35 nmol/L or less. Only 10.5 per cent of the women had adequate levels of vitamin D, defined as levels of 25(OH)D of at least 80 nmol/L. Just over 33 per cent of the infants, examined at an average age of 16.1 months, were found to early childhood caries. The mothers of these children were found to have significantly lower 25(OH)D levels than mothers of caries-free children (43.9 versus 52.8 nmol/L, respectively). According to the American Dental Association, early childhood caries are defined as "the presence of one or more decayed (non-cavitated or cavitated lesions), missing (due to caries) or filled tooth surfaces in any primary tooth in a preschool-age child between birth and 71 months of age."​ The study was funded by Manitoba Medical Service Foundation, Manitoba-Institute-of-Child-Health, Dentistry-Canada-Fund, University of Manitoba, and Dairy Farmers of Canada. Vitamin D and babies ​ A study from the University of Southampton (The Lancet,​ 2006, Vol 367, pp 36-43) reported that higher intake of vitamin D during late-stage pregnancy was linked to stronger bones in children. Another study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal​ (2006, Vol. 174, pp. 1273-1277), reported that women with low milk consumption during pregnancy had lighter babies, an association linked to the vitamin D content of the milk. Source: International Association for Dental Research​ 4 July 2008, Abstract # 1646 "Influence of maternal vitamin D status on infant oral health" ​Authors: R. Schroth, C. Lavelle, M.E. Moffatt

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