Get Your Kids Outside! The Link Between Vitamin D and Your Teeth

Get Your Kids Outside. The Link Between Vitamin D and Your Teeth.

Remember when you were a kid? … those carefree days of summer when video games were not as plentiful (or, even in existence), when you spent all summer outside with the neighborhood kids, when you kept wild creatures as pets? Anyone try to resuscitate a dead baby bird on the sidewalk or capture a million baby frogs in a coffee can and store them in your parents’ mailbox? ... those were the days. Nowadays, we have more things to distract our kids from the adventures of outside. But as we all know, the more you can take away those distractions, the better …

Get Them Outside for Vitamin D!

Vitamin D is so important for your youngsters because it helps them build strong bones (and teeth!), reduces their risk of dental caries, and boosts their immune system. It also helps promote insulin regulation, and can even help prevent disease later in life. For example, studies show risks for Type 1 Diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis are reduced with adequate levels of Vitamin D in childhood. And, because most children and adults in the U.S. are deficient in Vitamin D, it’s important to be very mindful of getting enough.
Depending on the region of the country you live in, June might be one of the few months where your kids can even get Vitamin D from the sun. If you live anywhere above Atlanta, Georgia, for instance, you can’t get Vitamin D from November to February.

How Much Sun Should They Get? 

Time of day, smog, and skin pigmentation all play into when and how much sun your littles should get. It is generally recommended, however, that they spend 5-30 minutes outside between 10 AM and 3 PM two times per week.

Luckily, you never have to worry about exposing your kids to too much Vitamin D from the sun (though there can be too much via supplementation). However, you can expose them to too much sun, so make sure to lather on that sunscreen after their time soaking in the D.  

What if my child has too many allergies or otherwise can’t be outside?

If your child cannot be outside for that long, or if you’re fighting Vitamin D deficiency in the winter time, it is recommended that you give your child foods that are high in Vitamin D, such as fortified cheese, yogurt, or milk, or fatty fishes and oils such as salmon, mackerel and cod liver oil (yum!).

If your kids aren’t into dairy or fish, it may be best to give them Vitamin D supplements (between 400-1000 International Units per day), or ask your pediatrician for their recommendation.