Vitamin D, pregnancy and caries in children in the INMA-Asturias birth cohort

BMC Pediatr. 2021 Sep 3;21(1):380. doi: 10.1186/s12887-021-02857-z.


Background: Vitamin D is traditionally associated with the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus, a process essential for the mineralization of hard tissue such as bone or tooth. Deficiency of this vitamin is a problem worldwide, however. Given the possibly significant role of Vitamin D in odontogenesis in children, the objective of our study was to determine the influence of vitamin D levels in the blood on dental anomalies in children between 6 and 10 years of age, by means of 25-hydroxy vitamin D tests performed during pregnancy and the first years of life.

Methods: The data analyzed were sourced from data belonging to the INMA-Asturias birth cohort, a prospective cohort study initiated in 2004 as part of the INMA Project. The 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D) test was performed with samples from 188 children in the INMA-Asturias birth cohort with a dental examination performed between 6 and 10 years of age. The samples were taken at three stages: in the mother at 12 weeks of gestation, and subsequently in the child at 4 and 8 years of age. Diet, nutritional and oro-dental hygiene habits were also analyzed by means of questionnaires.

Results: The results indicate a significant association between caries and correct or incorrect brushing technique. With incorrect brushing technique, the prevalence of caries was 48.89%, but this dropped to 22.38% with correct brushing technique. An association was also found between tooth decay and frequency of sugar intake. The prevalence of caries was 24.54% with occasional sugar intake, but this rose to 56% with regular sugar intake. On the other hand, levels < 20 ng/ml in both mother and child at 8 years of age would also be risk factors (ORgest = 2.51(1.01-6.36) and OR8years = 3.45(1.14-11.01)) for the presence of caries in children. The risk of caries practically tripled where 25(OH) D values were < 20 ng/ml.

Conclusions: Although incorrect brushing technique and regular sugar consumption was found to be the main cause of caries in the children, the low concentrations of vitamin D in the blood of the pregnant mothers may have magnified this correlation, indicating that the monitoring of vitamin D levels during pregnancy should be included in antenatal programmes. It is particularly striking that 50% of the children were deficient in vitamin D at the age of 4, and that dental floss was practically absent from regular cleaning routines.

Keywords: 25(oh)d; 25-hidroxivitamin D; Caries; Childhood; Pregnancy; Vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Dental Caries Susceptibility
  • Dental Caries* / epidemiology
  • Dental Caries* / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / diagnosis
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / epidemiology
  • Vitamins


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D