Low vitamin D levels during pregnancy may affect the newborn's primary tooth calcification, a risk factor in neonatal tooth decay.
University of Manitoba investigators presented the results of a study to determine the vitamin D status of pregnant women, the incidence of enamel defects and early-childhood tooth decay among their infants.
Two hundred and six pregnant women in their second trimester participated in the study. Only 21 women were found to have adequate vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D concentrations were related to the frequency of milk consumption and pre-natal vitamin use. The investigators examined 135 infants (55.6 percent male) at 16.1 months of age, and found that 21.6 percent of them had enamel defects, while 33.6 percent had early-childhood tooth decay.
Mothers of children with enamel defects had lower, but not significantly different, mean vitamin D concentrations during pregnancy than those of children without defects.
However, mothers of children with early-childhood tooth decay had significantly lower vitamin D levels than those whose children were cavity-free. Infants with enamel defects were significantly more likely to have early-childhood tooth decay.
This is the first study to show that maternal vitamin D levels may have an influence on primary teeth and the development of early-childhood tooth decay.
These findings were presented during the 86th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research.