By Marc Sorenson, EdD
Periodontal disease (PD) is an insidious malady that has become a pandemic. It attacks the gums and the bones that hold the teeth, and it causes tooth loss; PD, not cavities, is the number-one cause of tooth loss, with approximately 46% of all US adults suffering from the disease.
A recent study showed that bone mass is an independent risk factor in tooth loss secondary to PD in women with intellectual disability, meaning that there could be a common thread running through these three discrete conditions: PD, intellectual disability and low bone mass. Could that common thread be lack of sunlight? It is well-known that bone-mass loss can be mitigated or even reversed by sunlight exposure, as I have often mentioned in my writings on the subject. Treatment with sunlight, then, could reduce one of the major causes of tooth loss. Low vitamin D due to lack of sunlight exposure, has also been shown to correlate closely to PD. PD is also related to other degenerative diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and stroke. Read the discussion in my book (see footnote 5).
As to intellectual disability, we know that it correlates closely to low vitamin D levels, as was established in another recent study reported in a scientific journal.  The authors of the research concluded that “Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in people with intellectual disabilities, partly because of INSUFFICIENT EXPOSURE TO SUNLIGHT. Screening and treatment strategies, aiming to reduce these patients’ high fracture risk, should be introduced. Similar strategies may be required in other psychiatric populations at risk for fractures and with a TENDENCY TO SPEND EXCESSIVE TIME INDOORS.”
So there you have it, my friends; let the sun be your friend, enjoy it safely and improve every aspect of mental, dental, bone and heart health. But be warned: If you insist on eating the standard American diet (SAD) and expect to have good dental, mental and bone health, think again. Human health is holistic; we must have proper nutrition, regular moderate exercise and plenty of non-burning sunlight. Those are the three legs on the health stability stool, and should we neglect any one of them, our health may crash.
 Eke PI, Dye BA, Wei L, Slade GD, Thornton-Evans GO, Borgnakke WS, Taylor GW, Page RC, Beck JD, Genco RJ. Update on Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States: NHANES 2009 to 2012. J Periodontol 2015 May;86(5):611-22
 Yoko Numoto, Takayuki Mori, Shigeru Maeda, Yumiko Tomoyasu, Hitoshi Higuchi, Masahiko
Egusa and Takuya Miyawaki. Low Bone Mass Is a Risk Factor in Periodontal Disease-Related Tooth
Loss in Patients with Intellectual Disability.
 See my book, Vitamin D3 and Solar Power, for a complete discussion.
 Frighi V, Morovat A, Stephenson MT, White SJ, Hammond CV, Goodwin GM. Vitamin D deficiency in patients with intellectual disabilities: prevalence, risk factors and management strategies. Br J Psychiatry 2014;205(6):458-64.