Sunshine acting on our skin allows our bodies to make vitamin D. We get 90% of our vitamin D from exposure to the sun and only 10% from our diet. Vitamin D has many important functions, including regulation of calium and phosphate, which is important for healthy bones. However vitamin D also plays an important role in our immune systems. Healthy immune systems are crucial for our body to fight the bacteria that cause gum disease. Everyone has millions of bacteria in their mouth, of many different types. Bacteria thrive in the layer of plaque that can be left at the gumline, and this is where a war is waged between the immune system and these harmful bacteria. If your immune system is not functioning as it should be the bacteria can easily take the upper hand, multiplying and releasing toxins that destroy the bone holding the teeth in place. The gums become inflammed and bleed easily.
So as well as keeping up a good oral hygiene routine with regular toothbrushing and interdental cleaning, make sure you catch a few rays of sun this summer too. However do remember to stay safe in the sun by using suncream and keeping well hydrated. There have been concerns in the past that using suncream would prevent your body from manufacturing vitamin D. Therefore, some people advised getting 15 minutes of sun first before applying cream. However newer research shows even with suncream on, your body will still make vitamin D, if maybe at a slightly slower rate.
So get out and enjoy the sun while you can. We need to build up those vitamind D reserves now to last us over the winter, and help our immune systems keep fighting!