Many of the health problems that crop up in life have their origin in the very beginning — when the person was in the mother’s womb. It turns out that it applies to even cavities and gum problems.

A recent Canadian study points out that low Vitamin D levels during pregnancy could be one of the causes for a person’s poor dental health, and city dentists corroborate this finding.

Vitamin D, also called as the ‘sunshine’ vitamin, is a fat soluble steroid hormone mainly produced in the skin by exposure to sun. Doctors say direct exposure to sunlight for at least 30 minutes a day is a must, especially between 10 a.m. and noon. This vitamin is responsible for enhancing intestinal absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate and zinc, doctors say.

The study linked women’s low Vitamin D levels during pregnancy to higher risk of teeth cavities in their toddlers since the deficiency among mothers can lead to defects in the enamel of the toddlers’ teeth. Teething usually occurs between the ages of six and nine months. Children usually have their full set of primary teeth (milk teeth or baby teeth) by the age of three. At about the age of six, the first permanent teeth emerge, say experts.

Jayakar Shetty, former member of Dental Council of India, says the baby’s tooth formation begins from the sixth week of pregnancy. Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy and the resultant enamel defect can in turn increase the risk of tooth decay.

A.V. Ramesh, former Head of the Department of Periodontics in Oxford Dental College, says prevention should begin during pregnancy by bolstering maternal nutrition, either through improved dietary intake or supplementation with Vitamin D.

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