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Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health

Low concentrations may lead to enamel defects, early tooth decay, study finds

FRIDAY, July 4 (HealthDay News) -- Babies born to women with low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy may be at increased risk for tooth enamel defects and early childhood tooth decay, a Canadian study finds.

Researchers at the University of Manitoba analyzed the vitamin D levels of 206 women in their second trimester of pregnancy and found only 21 (10.5 percent) of the women had adequate vitamin D levels. The women's levels of vitamin D were related to the frequency of milk consumption and prenatal vitamin use.

The researchers also examined 135 infants and found that 21.6 percent of them had enamel defects and 33.6 percent had early childhood tooth decay. Mothers of infants with enamel defects had lower, but not significantly different, mean vitamin D concentrations during pregnancy than mothers of infants without enamel defects.

Mothers of infants with early childhood tooth decay had significantly lower vitamin D levels than mothers of cavity-free infants. Infants with enamel defects were significantly more likely to have early childhood tooth decay, the researchers said.

The study, expected to be presented July 4 at the General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, in Toronto, is the first to show that pregnant women's vitamin D levels may affect the dental health of their infants.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians offers advice about caring for your baby's teeth.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: International & American Associations for Dental Research, news release, July 4, 2008

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