Can Lack of Vitamin D Affect Your Dental Implants?

There’s evidence that vitamin D may help ensure that your implants succeed. Vitamin D, found in sunlight and some foods, helps bones stay strong. This essential nutrient also boosts your immune system, helping you heal after dental implant surgery.

Up to 95 percent of implants in people missing one tooth or several teeth succeed. In people who are missing all of their teeth, 80 to 90 percent of implants succeed.

A Common Problem

A lack of vitamin D, or vitamin D deficiency, could be the reason some implants fail. New research shows a higher failure rate for implants in patients with vitamin D deficiency than in patients with normal levels of vitamin D.

The National Institutes of Health recommends 600 IU/day for adults up to age 69 and 800 IU/day starting at age 70. Older adults, people who are obese and people who have certain medical conditions are most likely to have vitamin D deficiency. In the United States, 61 percent of older adults don’t have enough vitamin D circulating in their blood. People with a body mass index greater than 30 or who have kidney disease, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, or Crohn’s disease are also at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency.

How to Get Enough Vitamin D

Even for young, healthy people, it can be hard to get enough vitamin D from sun and food. Sunlight is the best natural way to get vitamin D.

Being in the sun for about 15 minutes three days a week can provide enough vitamin D if you have light skin. If you have darker skin, it may take up to three hours to get enough vitamin D.

The amount of time you need to spend in the sun also depends on the season, the time of day, and how much of your skin is exposed to the sun. Experts say that you can make enough vitamin D for a day in about half the time it takes the skin to burn.

Vitamin D is naturally in a few foods and added to others. Foods with vitamin D include:

  • Milk, yogurt and other dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Okra
  • Collards
  • Soybeans
  • White beans
  • Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel.

Foods with added vitamin D (fortified foods) provide most of this nutrient for most people. Fortified foods include:

  • Many breakfast cereals
  • Some orange juice, yogurt, margarine and soy drinks.

Many people need to take a supplement to get enough vitamin D. Talk to your doctor about what to take and how much. Don’t take more than the recommended dose, as too much vitamin D can be dangerous.