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Vitamin D has more benefits than just building bones

This is Science Today. The benefits of vitamin D have become an interesting area of study for researchers across various disciplines, including cancer prevention and now, periodontology. Dr. Mark Ryder of the University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry, is interested in looking into how vitamin D affects the inflammation present in periodontal disease.

Ryder:                        I think there's some very interesting new evidence that vitamin D may have certainly more benefits above just building strong bones. It may improve your body's defenses and it may also play a role in reducing some of the destructive effects of inflammation. And the mouth is a unique area to look at that because periodontal diseases are so common - you have a bacterial infection and you have an inflammatory response. And so one of the areas that myself and others are beginning to look at are the effects of one, vitamin D deficient patients. Do they get more disease? And two, are there benefits in giving, let's say, high dietary supplements of vitamin D?

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.