Saturday, September 27, 2008

Prevent Cavities: Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Niacin, and Thiamine

Cavities are important indicators of basic good health. Healthy people don’t get cavities. Unhealthy people, no matter how good their dental care, do get cavities. Take a look at this recent study showing a clear correlation between cavities and dementia. I recommend taking news of a cavity from your dentist seriously. Read more here.

Vitamins prevent cavities by improving overall basic health. Vitamins have been readily available for decades, yet many people still suffer from poor health and therefore have multiple teeth with cavities as senior citizens. People haven’t yet learned how to take vitamins to optimize health. I believe that an important reason is that most people can’t feel vitamins working. That’s bad news.

The good news is that there are only four really important vitamins. These are the four vitamins associated with pandemic deficiency disease: vitamin C/scurvy, vitamin D/rickets, thiamine/beriberi, and niacin/pellagra. Optimizing these four vitamins alone will result in a step-change reduction in cavities. Read more here. If you have recently had a cavity filled (or are responsible for the care of someone who has recently had a cavity filled), you have much to gain and nothing to lose by reading on.

If you are looking for good doses to start with, click here.

Vitamin D and thiamine deficiencies probably account for most premature cavities. Vitamin D deficiency is caused by a combination of geography and modern living. The natural means of getting large daily doses of vitamin D is from sunshine. If you live outside the tropics, in the winter it is difficult to get enough sun exposure to deliver optimal doses of vitamin D. Not only is there a lot less intense sunshine in the winter, but the cold weather causes people to wear clothes which blocks the limited amount of sunshine naturally available.

Modern living compounds these problems. Most people work inside and dress professionally. Incredibly, mainstream medicine doesn’t see this as a problem, and does nothing while medical colleagues paid by industry advertise the risks of sun exposure (primarily skin damage and skin cancer) in order to sell sunscreens and other cosmetic products. Scared by these risks, and blind to the dangers of avoiding the sun, many people are reducing exposure to the sun even further.

Sunshine and/or tanning lamps are the best way to get vitamin D. It only requires 5 minutes per side of full body exposure three days per week in order to get close to maximum possible production of vitamin D from the skin. Taking vitamin D supplements works but is accompanied by risk of overdose. Taking 1000 IU/day of vitamin D is safe but delivers significantly lower doses of vitamin D. Taking more than 1000 IU/day can cause side effects. The earliest side effects are typically irritated lungs and ringing ears. Personally, I use both supplements and the sun and cut back on supplements when I experience side effects.

Thiamine is the special vitamin of the four special vitamins. The ordinary forms of thiamine commonly found in the diet require specialized proteins to be absorbed and transported throughout the body. As we age, our thiamine transport system also ages. So, even if there is an ample supply of thiamine in the diet, parts of the body can become thiamine deficient with age. For this reason, thiamine deficiency is associated with many common conditions of aging: depression, dementia, sleep disorders, and loss of sex drive. Limitations in the thiamine transport system can be overcome by taking mega doses of typical forms of thiamine or by taking small doses of TTFD, a fat-soluble form of thiamine that doesn’t rely on transport proteins to be distributed throughout the body. Read more here and here.

Vitamin C is easily managed by taking 2000 to 3000 mg at breakfast and at bedtime every day. If this causes side effects in the digestive tract, cut back to 1000 mg twice per day. A high protein diet provides ample amounts of niacin. Supplementing once per week with a 250 mg time-release tablet should be plenty to prevent cavities. If you eat a low fat, low protein diet it is a good idea to take a 250 mg time-release tablet at least 3 times per week.

The recent study cited in the first paragraph found that elderly individuals diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease had an average of 7.8 teeth with fillings vs. an average of only 2.7 fillings for elderly individuals without dementia. Some individuals make it into old age without any fillings at all. These elderly tend to be in excellent health in general. Cavities are associated with poor health from a wide variety of other causes. Although not serious today, before the advent of modern dental practices cavities were life threatening. Cavities are strongly associated with serious chronic health problems. If you have recently had a cavity filled (or are responsible for the care of someone who has recently had a cavity filled), you have much to gain and nothing to lose by supplementing with vitamin D, thiamine, vitamin C, and niacin.


At 2:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice Article! Also recent research showed that a diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D may lower the risk of developing cancer and premenstrual symptoms (PMS).

At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an interesting post but I believe you are incorrect about vitamin D toxicity.

Please explain how Vit D can be toxic at 1000 iu increments but when we go out in the sun for 1/2 an hour we make between 20,000-40,000 ius depending on skin color etc.

Thanks, and I look forward to your answer.

For good info on on vitamin d start here: and then go to

At 9:40 PM, Blogger Bobber said...

Interesting point about cavities and health. But I think there might also be a correlation to high grain intake. This is probably a double whammy as whole grains will disrupt vitamin D metabolism as well as effect teeth. See Cordain's paper Cereal Grains: Humanity's Double Edged Sword.

I changed my diet significantly several years ago by reducing and then eliminating breakfast cereal. I now eat, eggs or meat with fruits and some vegetables.

At 9:48 PM, Blogger Steve said...


Thanks for the link to the vitamin D council. I spend alot of time at that link. I'm not so familiar with the other link and will go and have a look. Thanks again.

The Food and Nutrition Board has set an UL (upper safe limit) value for vitamin D of 2000 IU per day. This means that most people can take up to 2000 IU per day without encountering side effects. It also means that side effects are common at >2000 IU per day.

Hunting around the literature, I found numerous confirmations of side effects caused by sustained use of >2000 IU/day of vitamin D. An interesting source of this information was a website that sells sunlamps designed to stimulate the skin to produce vitamin D. The website stated that the lamp was important for individuals who had low tolerance for vitamin D supplements.

There are many reasons why supplements might cause side effects at far lower doses than sunshine. The first vitamin D side effect that I experience is irritation of the lungs. Vitamin D from supplements goes into the bloodstream for distribution. Thus it gets pumped round and round through the lungs. It's not surprising that more vitamin D from supplements, vs. sunshine, might end up in lung tissue. Vitamin D from sunshine is produced in the largest organ in the body - the skin. Although the dose is high, the concentration of vitamin D at any single point is low. Because vitamin D is produced in the skin, surrounding cells may be more efficient at converting vitamin D to mono, di, and tri-phosphate forms. The skin is also associated with a layer of fat which may serve as a place to store vitamin D. Finally, vitamin D can be destroyed as well as created by sunlight. Vitamin D stored in the skin and fat just beneath the skin may be destroyed faster than it is formed when vitamin D accumulations start to reach levels that can cause side effects. In the absence of sunlight, vitamin D has a half-life of almost one month. Vitamin D taken as pills can end up stored in locations where vitamin D has the full half-life.

Truth in advertising - I'm not sure which, if any, of these explainations is correct. I'm also sure that I could think of many other possibilities given time.

Optimization of vitamin consumption is not easy. That's why I recommend focussing on the four vitamins associated with deficiency diseases. All four are available in various forms - and each form of supplement has it's own side-effect profile.

At 9:59 PM, Blogger Steve said...


Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks for the link to the Cordain article.

Cordain spends quite some time pointing out that commodity cereal grains are deficient in vitamin C, vitamin D, niacin, and thiamine.

I'm a fan of low-carb diets myself, so I basically agree with your point. So the question is what's more important - ample supplies of the four important vitamins or a low-carb diet. I end up voting with the vitamins. Our bodies, when healthy, are adapted to survive a wide range of diets. Our bodies are good at storing vitamins for weeks so that we can go days at a time on diets deficient in vitamins with no ill effects. What's causing so much harm today is chronic ingestion of a diet rich in carbohydrates and deficient in vitamins.

At any rate, this is easily enough tested. Let readers take vitamins as recommended. Either the cavities disappear or they don't. Perhaps we'll learn that vitamins alone won't eliminate cavities from high-carb dieters. Let the data talk.

At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would suspect that most people who live north of Atlanta are deficient of Vitamin D during the winter. For about six months, I took a calcium supplement (no Vitamind D supplement) and had a kidney stone in January. This would corrolate to a low level of Vitamin D during winter. I no longer take calcium supplements. I would suggest that anyone taking supplemental calcium also take Vitamin D supplements; at least during winter. This year I plan to take a Vitamin D supplement (1000 IU) during winter and see what affect is has on me.


At 11:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is a very important article that I've found from the web about vitamin D. Earlier I think that vitamin D can only affect bones But I understand now many more from you.

At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found many things about cavities from your blog and I think that the reason for many disorders that we face in the modern world is that we are getting far away from the natural environment. As it’s clear that one person can take the sufficient amount of vitamin D only by exposing to sunlight just 5 minutes a day and just 3 times a week. I think the media of course make people more frightened about the cancers which arise due to the exposure to the UV rays which come from the sunlight. The people must aware more about taking vitamin D naturally without addicting to vitamin pills, which can make much more side effects.

In your article I have find some side effects of taking excess amounts of vitamin D and I think I should add some other facts to it too.

Excess intake of vitamin D can lead to excess calcium uptake. If the excess cannot all be excreted in the urine it may become deposited in the kidneys where it can damage to the kidneys. This is more dangerous for infants than adults. This effect and the effects you stated (irritated lungs and ringing ears) too force me to think of the natural way of having vitamin D by only exposing to the sun.

I think many of you will agree with me.

At 9:49 PM, Blogger Steve said...


Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your comments. It's an honor to be visited by someone living almost halfway around the world from my home in the USA. It's a greater honor to be visited by another vitamin blogger. Keep up the good work.

The best single source of information that I have on vitamin side effects is called "The Right Dose" by Patricia Hausman. She lists the classic vitamin D side effects as: nausea, vomiting, los of appetite, headache, dry mouth, abdominal pain, bone pain, dizziness. The ringing ears, irritated lungs, and cold-sensitivity in the teeth came from other sources.

I personally experienced many of these side effects after 3 months of supplementation at 4000 IU/day. As a result, I had to quit taking supplements for several months. I restarted vitamin D intake by going out into the sun. Interestingly, dosing with sunshine is causing me the same side effects.

Every source I found discussing the topic (5 or 6) claimed that vitamin D side effects from sunshine alone are unknown. I still find this odd. Are so few people trying to get vitamin D from the sun? Granted, I'm intentionally trying to maximize vitamin d production - 10 minutes in the noontime sun naked except for shorts. Using this strategy, I don't tan.

It's unlikely that there is one best way of getting vitamin D. Vitamin D can be obtained from the diet and from sunshine. Supplemental vitamin D can be obtained by rubbing it into the skin instead of eating it. It might also be useful to inject it to achieve an especially high concentration only in a specific location. There are many forms of supplemental vitamin D, and each one will distribute throughout the body slightly differently. It will be a long time before humanity masters the use of vitamin D.

At 9:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting! I have a 5 year old daughter who has already had 10 cavities and was constantly trying to figure out why. We brushed her teeth twice a day and started flossing her teeth at night 2 years ago. She does a fluoride rinse also in the evening. My husband and I both has healthy teeth growing up. Her dentist keeps telling me it is hygiene and whatever it is she is eating. We cut out fruit snacks and raisins at age 3 and she never took a bottle to bed as an infant and she certainly didn't eat a ton of candy. I just had blood work myself and it came back that my calcium was low. My endocrinologist (I am Type 1 diabetic) told me I was probably Vitamin D deficient and would have to start taking a Vitamin D supplement. I am now wondering if this could be the reason she has has so many problems with her teeth. My youngest daughter who is almost 2 has not been to the dentist, but I fear that she will have the same problem if it is the Vitamin D! Thanks for the info!

At 6:46 PM, Blogger Steve said...


Thanks for visiting. I'm glad you found the information useful. It is disappointing that your daughter has not gotten better information from her dentist and pediatrician.

Although I expect that you are correct to focus on vitamin D, please don't ignore thiamine, vitamin C, and niacin. The easy way to handle thiamine is to take a 100 mg tablet of thaimine hydrochloride every day. The better way is to purchase 50 mg TTFD gelcaps and rub 10 to 20 mg/day onto the skin. Since TTFD smells, I recommend rubbing it into the feet.

Your daughter has much to gain and little to lose by giving the vitamins a try. You mentioned that you have type 1 diabetes. Diabetes often gets worse as you age. Your first priority should be to maintain the health you have. Taking vitamin C, thiamine, vitamin D, and niacin should help. With luck, your condition might improve. You also have much to gain and little to lose by giving the vitamins a try.

Thanks again for posting a comment.

At 3:03 AM, Anonymous Dental Roseville said...

This is a very interesting and very informative post on cavities prevention. Thanks for sharing this. This will educate parents for their children.

At 4:04 AM, Blogger Bethany said...

I am glad you shared one of the many benefits of vitamin C. The fact that there is correlation between cavities and dementia gives me the creeps.

online chemist Australia

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Bella said...

If you are taking a lot of vitamin D, it uses up your magnesium which can cause headaches. I have cured the flu with large doses of vitamin D, magnesium, and trace minerals from nuts and seeds. Taking large doses of any vitamin or mineral can cause you to be deficient in other minerals and vitamins.

At 2:44 PM, Blogger james john said...

Everything was wonderful. We found our new dentist.Brentwood Village Dentist


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