Taking large doses of vitamin D during pregnancy could improve the oral health of children.
A clinical trial split 600 women into two groups, one taking vitamin D supplements and the other taking a placebo.
Six years later children of the women that took vitamin D experienced a 47% lower rate of enamel defects.
‘You can’t have cavities without first having enamel defects,’ senior author and professor of paediatrics at the University of Copenhagen, Dr Hans Bisgaard, said.
‘This is an extremely robust finding, and I have no doubt that it does not come by chance.
‘By age 10, we will see plenty of cavities and this same protective effect.’
Defects in tooth enamel effects 38% of school-aged children, the research states.
The research stops short of linking vitamin D supplements with the prevalence of caries in children.
Researchers also point out the study could be limited by bias due to it being unblinded.
‘This (research) suggests prenatal high-dose vitamin D supplementation as a preventive intervention to reduce the prevalence of enamel defects with a significant potential effect on dental health,’ the study summarises.
Public Health England (PHE) advises that 10 micrograms of vitamin D are needed daily to help keep healthy teeth.
This advice is based on the recommendations of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) following its review of the evidence on vitamin D and health.
‘A healthy, balanced diet and short bursts of sunshine will mean most people get all the vitamin D they need in spring and summer,’ Dr Louis Levy, head of nutrition science at PHE, said.
‘However, everyone will need to consider taking a supplement in the autumn and winter if you don’t eat enough foods that naturally contain vitamin D or are fortified with it.
‘And those who don’t get out in the sun or always cover their skin should take a vitamin D supplement throughout the year.’