After having dental implants placed, there are certain things that you must do to decrease the risk of implant failure. This is because the implants must fuse with the surrounding bone to be considered successful. Therefore, to avoid disturbing the implant while it heals, your dentist will often place you on a temporary soft foods diet and advise that you chew on the opposite side of the mouth if possible.
However, did you know that there may also be another important thing you can do to help your implant fuse with your jawbone? In addition to following all the guidelines provided by your dentist, you can also make sure you are getting enough vitamin D. A simple blood test can test your vitamin D levels and various doses of vitamin D are available over the counter.
Why Vitamin D?
At this point, you may be wondering how vitamin D can help your dental implants heal. In order to answer that, we must look at what the body uses vitamin D for. Vitamin D allows the body to absorb calcium in order to maintain bone health and encourage new bone growth. In fact, calcium can only be absorbed when vitamin D is present. Since dental implants require new bone growth to fuse them in place, having enough vitamin D is essential for better treatment outcomes.
Additionally, vitamin D has also been found to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Simply stated, this can reduce the risk of developing an infection after implant surgery and promote faster healing. Vitamin D also promotes healthy gums and decreases the risk of gum disease. Healthy gums are another essential factor for implant success.
Do I have a vitamin D deficiency?
According to a study cited on the National Center for Biotechnology Information database, 41.6% of American adults have a vitamin D deficiency. Out of this number, there are certain people who may be at a higher risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency. The most common risk factors for vitamin D deficiency are:
- Having dark skin (69.2% of Hispanics and 82.1% of African-Americans are deficient in vitamin D)
- Being over the age of 65
- Always wearing sunscreen
- Staying indoors
- Being overweight
- Avoiding fish and dairy in their diet
- Living far from the equator where there is little sun
While a blood test is the only way to confirm your vitamin D levels and whether or not you are deficient, there are some signs that can indicate a deficiency, including:
- Getting sick often
- Bone pain
- Muscle pain
- Bone loss
- Hair loss
- Wounds that don’t heal
How much vitamin D?
For adults up to age of 70, 600 IU of vitamin D is recommended per day and 800 IU is recommended for adults over the age of 70. You can increase your vitamin D intake by getting more sun, eating more fatty fish and dairy products, or through a vitamin D supplement. However, it is important to consult with your primary physician to determine what dosage is the best for your body.
By making sure your body has enough vitamin D, you can improve the outcome of your dental implant treatment. Adequate levels of vitamin D allow your body to properly form the new bone needed to secure the implant in place, as well as reduce the risk of infection and gum disease. Having enough vitamin D also decreases the chances of complications associated with vitamin D deficiency. If you are having dental implants placed, you may want to have your vitamin D levels checked first.
Dr. Stephen Clark graduated from Northwestern Dental School in 1969 and earned his California Dental License in 1970. During his over 50 years serving the Long Beach area, he has provided effective dental care to many citizens.