Vitamin Deficiency Places Anchorage Youth At Risk For Oral and Systemic Illness: Says Anchorage Dentist

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A passel of things are celebrated in February, and one of them is “National Children’s Dental Health Month.” Dr. Dan Kiley, a dentist in Anchorage, AK shares that the ADA slogan for this year’s campaign is “Defeat Monster Mouth.”

Dan Kiley, DDS - Anchorage Dentist
"Orange juice is one of the major offenders" says Kiley.

Kids can fight monster mouth and support good oral health when they follow the rule “2 minutes 2 times”, which means brushing their teeth for two minutes twice each day.

Other good dental health suggestions for kids include limiting sugary foods and snacks and choosing to drink more water and less soda pop. Did you know that even “healthful” fruit juices and milk are high in sugar and can cause tooth decay? A good rule of thumb is to not consume foods with more than 30% of carbohydrates being composed of sugar. "Orange juice is one of the major offenders" says Kiley. "The average glass of orange juice has 90% of its carbohydrate calories from sugar. Oranges are great but, for good health, steer clear of orange juice, unless you dilute it with water."

Anchorage Dentist Kiley also finds younger patients are drinking less milk than in previous years. Consequently, the State of Alaska found the incidence of rickets, a bone deformity, to increasing in the state. Rickets is a deficiency of Vitamin D that is usually added to milk. Although a human body can produce this “vitamin” when receiving several minutes of strong daily sun exposure on the skin, the low levels of sunshine during long Alaska winters means a lower likelihood of not getting a sufficient amount of Vitamin D. The only viable, and safe, alternative is to get Vitamin D from a daily diet. Great sources of Vitamin D include fish such as salmon, sardines, and tuna, all of which are plentiful here.

Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and teeth, but also in regulating enzymes that are involved in the body’s response to gum disease, heart disease and cancer. Because it can reduce the activity of certain enzymes called MMPs, it is essential to supplement the Alaskan winter diet with Vitamin D.

Another way to boost Vitamin D levels is by taking a quality daily supplement. Adults continue to need Vitamin D, but lifestyle, clothing choices, cosmetics and sunblock may limit sun exposure, thereby reducing access to this naturally occurring source.

For women, especially those who may be thin, post menopausal, and with a family history of osteoporosis, vitamin D is essential for the health of bones including the jaw, where bone loss and related infection can result in periodontal disease and tooth loss.

According to Dr. Kiley, Vitamin D may be even more important than many, even some scientists and health professionals, realize .

National Wear Red Day (also celebrated in February) is a heart disease awareness campaign specifically targeting women. The British Medical Journal reported a 2014 study that showed low levels of Vitamin D were linked to an increased risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Current studies at Johns Hopkins are trying to determine if heart attack risk is then reduced when Vitamin D levels are returned to “normal.”

Several organizations have suggested that those in northern climates should get Vitamin D levels checked. A 2006 Study by the Mayo Clinic reported that they were finding 36% of young adults, and 57% of the general adult population had inadequate Vitamin D levels.

Several medical laboratories in Alaska can measure Vitamin D levels and help guide a person in making appropriate choices.

To learn more about Dr. Dan Kiley and his Anchorage dental practice, visit his website at

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Dan Kiley
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