3. Vitamin D Improves Gum Health and Prevents Diabetes

A new paper draws interesting links between gum infections, a reduced level of vitamin D, and diabetes. This marks the first time that the joint effects of periodontitis and vitamin D deficiency on diabetes have been examined. While there are certain well-known risk factors for diabetes, such as obesity and high blood pressure, there is still a lot more to learn. A team at the University of Toronto in Canada investigated the potential influence of vitamin D deficiency and periodontitis, a gum infection. They chose to look at gum disease because earlier studies had shown that diabetes increases the risk of periodontitis, which is a bacterially induced inflammatory disease that can damage soft tissue and bone.

This relationship is bidirectional, meaning that periodontitis also makes management of type 2 diabetes more challenging. Lead study author Aleksandra Zuk explained that the useful effects of Vitamin D for bone health, as well as antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects, prompted them for this research. The scientists took information from the 2009–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to get a clue about the inter-dependency. The sample included data from 1,631 people with type 2 diabetes and 1,369 without. All participants were over 30 years old, and each individual underwent a dental exam and was assessed for vitamin D levels and measures of fasting glucose and insulin.

Following their analysis, the authors concluded: "consistently, the joint effects of vitamin D-3 insufficiency and total vitamin D insufficiency with periodontitis were significantly associated with diabetes." The data showed that, separately, periodontitis and vitamin D deficiency increased the risk of type 2 diabetes. The authors also discovered that when the two factors were combined, the risk was "greater than the sum of the individual effects."

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