Why holistic dental professionals say a sun tan is a good thing.
If you live in Miami, chances are good that your doctor has warned you about spending long hours in the hot Florida sun. You’ve probably also been cautioned to used a thick sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, and to reapply the lotion every 30 to 60 minutes to avoid sunburn and melanoma (skin cancer). With all the hearsay and confusion surrounding the subject of sun exposure and health, you might even find yourself taking refuge in the shade, just to play it safe. Avoiding the sun can be extremely detrimental to long-term health, however.
New studies suggest that men and women who avoid the sun are more likely to develop serious health issues. Most common is vitamin D deficiency, a condition that has been linked with an increased risk of osteoporosis, cancer, autoimmune disease, tooth loss, and periodontal disease.
The Skin Cancer Myth
According to a new study featured in the UK publication The Independent, a 20 year long epidemiological study that followed nearly 30 thousand women arrived at a confusing result: The mortality rate for women who avoided sun exposure was about twice that of women who spent long hours in the sun.
For many, the results of the study come as a complete surprise. If sun exposure is so dangerous, why is mortality rate so high among women who actively avoid the sun? This study, along with countless others, supports a simple truth: Sun exposure is a natural and vital part of everyday life.
Sun Exposure and Vitamin D Production
In numerous studies, sun exposure has been shown to trigger the production of vitamin D within the body. This causes a cascade of oral health and holistic health benefits, as shared in the Vitamin D and Health section below. Most notably, vitamin D “activates” the body’s white blood cells, which strengthens immunity and improves the body’s ability to product antibodies.
Moreover, it seems sun exposure is not as dangerous as Americans were once led to believe. According to Bernard Ackerman, MD, the link between melanoma and sun exposure is actually unproven, and to date there has never been a piece of evidence that proves that sun burn leads to skin cancer (i).
In short, avoiding the sun can seriously undermine holistic and oral health by depriving the body of its natural means of vitamin D production. Without a healthy amount of sun exposure, individuals can develop a vitamin D deficiency that can lead to other serious issues.
Vitamin D and Health
According to leading health researchers, vitamin D can have a very positive impact on dental health as well as total body wellness.
Vitamin D and Dental Health
- Improves bone metabolism, creating stronger jaw bone (as well as TMJ)
- Facilitates re-mineralization of teeth, prevents cavities and caries
- Reduces inflammation, in turn reducing the risk of periodontal disease
Vitamin D and Holistic Health
Vitamin D promotes much more than just oral health, however. There are several holistic health benefits associated with high levels of vitamin D, including:
- Elevated mood
- Stronger immunity
- Reduced risk of osteoporosis
- Reduced inflammation and arthritic pain
- Reduced risk of autoimmune disease, namely multiple sclerosis
- Reduced risk of cancers, specifically breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer
Dosage and Recommended Usage
Traditionally, medical and health care professionals have recommended adults adhere to the following vitamin D dosage guidelines:
- Adults ages 31 to 70: 600 IU
- Adults ages 70 and over: 800 IU
As adults age, the recommended daily dosage of vitamin D increases to further reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis, arthritis, and other ailments that result from vitamin D deficiency. Lately, some physicians have recommended adults of all ages begin taking at least 5000 IU daily to compensate for the rampant deficiency that is common among Americans. Moreover, physicians also recommend taking fish oil along with vitamin D to increase the absorption and effectiveness of both health supplements.
*An Important Reminder: Always remember to speak with your dentist or health care professional prior to making changes to your diet, supplement, or medication regimen.
Holistic Dentistry at Assure A Smile
At Assure A Smile, we strive to help patients learn how proper nutrition, healthy lifestyle, and safe care can create healthy teeth and gums for life. To experience holistic dentistry firsthand, schedule an appointment online or call our front desk directly at 305-274-0047.
(i) “I BEG TO DIFFER; A Dermatologist Who’s Not Afraid to Sit on the Beach.” The New York Times. Published July 20, 2004.
(ii) Stein SH, Tipton DA. “Vitamin D and Its Impact on Oral Health.” National Institute of Health. Published 2011.