Periodontal diseaseIntroduction

Periodontal disease (PD) is a chronic condition where bacterial biofilms adhere to the gingiva (periodontal tissues) leading to host responses within periodontal tissues, and inducing inflammatory damage resulting in breakdown of the connective tissue that anchors teeth to alveolar bone1.

It is a disease that is responsible for most of the tooth loss after the age of 40 years.

Cross-sectional studies have found inverse correlations between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels and PD.  The mechanisms whereby vitamin D reduces the risk of PD include induction of cathelicidin and defensins, which have antibacterial properties, and reduced production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). MMPs are enzymes that assist in modulation of interstitial tissue by digestion of its supportive matrix, especially collagen.  

PD is associated with many other diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and pneumonia.  Vitamin D appears to reduce the risk of all of these diseases, which likely explains the link.  

To reduce the risk of PD, it is advisable to keep serum 25(OH)D levels between 30-60 ng/mL (75-150 nmol/L) or somewhat higher.

Page last edited: 03 May 2011


  1. Graves, D. Cytokines that promote periodontal tissue destruction. J Periodontol. 2008 Aug; 79 (8 Suppl): 1585-91.