Vitamin K2 and its Benefits for Teeth

What is Vitamin K?

Vitamin K is a group of fat-soluble vitamins that are essential for human health. Vitamin K has two forms; vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and vitamin K2 (menaquinone). The most nutritionally important out of these two forms is vitamin K2. It assists with calcium absorption - transporting calcium to the bones and teeth, improving bone density, oral health, and cardiovascular health. When calcium is not pushed into the bones and teeth, it is deposited into the arteries and joints. This can cause tooth decay, osteoporosis, osteopenia, heart disease, gall stones and kidney stones.

Vitamin K2 For Teeth

The association between vitamin K2 and the teeth was first identified by Dr Weston A Price, who, throughout his studies of primitive tribes, discovered a substance (later identified as vitamin K2) that helped protect people from tooth decay and chronic disease. Dr Price referred to this substance as 'activator X' until 2007, when the Weston A Price Foundation was able to identify activator X as vitamin K2.

During his studies, Dr Weston Price noticed that primitive tribes who followed an ancestral diet had teeth that were resistant to decay (so much so that he only discovered one cavity per 1000 teeth), properly formed faces without crowded teeth, and were not plagued by chronic disease. By comparison, he noticed that those following modern diets had little resistance to tooth decay, often suffered malocclusion, poor facial development and high susceptibility to chronic disease.

When comparing modern and ancestral diets, Dr Price noticed that perhaps one of the most significant distinctions between the two was that vitamin K2 (then known as activator X) was mostly absent from modern diets. And so began our knowledge of the relationship between vitamin K2 and the teeth.

Can Vitamin K2 Remineralize Teeth?

We know that vitamin K2 can help prevent teeth from decay, but can vitamin k2 remineralize teeth? Again, this question is best understood through the prism of Dr Weston A Price. During his work, he treated a group of malnourished children at an orphanage. He prescribed a diet rich in fats and protein. He did so for two reasons; firstly, because it was rich in vitamin K2 (from animal products). Secondly, a diet rich in fat and protein also helps the body absorb minerals and fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin K2. The diet consisted of butter, cod liver oil, meat and vegetable stews, cultured dairy products, and fermented foods like sauerkraut and was devoid of sugar. 

As a result of this treatment plan, the children's health improved, and importantly, Dr Price noticed that their teeth began to remineralize. The role of vitamin K2 in remineralization is mostly due to it fostering the proper absorption of minerals and pushing calcium into the teeth (which promotes healing and repair). Not only does this highlight the importance of vitamin K2 for the teeth, but the broader relationship between diet and dentistry. 

Vitamin K2 is by no means a silver bullet for remineralizing the teeth - remineralization is also dependent on a properly formulated diet and proper oral hygiene. But, vitamin K2 can undoubtedly help to remineralize the teeth.

How Does Vitamin K2 Benefit Teeth?

Osteocalcin is a calcium-binding protein - meaning it transports calcium from the bloodstream and deposits it into the bones and teeth. The synthesis and activation of osteocalcin is dependent on vitamin K2. When osteocalcin is synthesized, it promotes the growth of dentin, which is a tissue of the tooth that sits under the enamel. This formation of dentin means that decay is less likely to occur. By pushing calcium into the teeth in this manner, vitamin K2 also improves the density of the teeth - meaning that they are more resistant to decay and tooth loss (especially during ageing).

To fully comprehend how vitamin K2 benefits the teeth, it is essential to understand the 'oral systemic link'. Another of our articles on tooth decay also explains the oral systemic link in greater detail and outlines the links between diet and dentistry, and how a diet rich in fat, protein and vitamin K2, and low in sugar can prevent tooth decay, remineralize teeth generally benefit oral health.

Where to Get Your Vitamin K2 - Diet or Supplements?

Vitamin K2 is primarily derived from animal products, and natto - a fermented soybean dish (the only vegan form of vitamin K2). However, vitamin K2 found in animal products is often in the form of MK-4 (menatetrenone). Vitamin K2 MK-4 has less bioavailability and a shorter 'half-life' than the other form of vitamin k2, MK-7 (menaquinone-7).

Due to these differences in bioavailability and half-life, MK-7 is longer-lasting and more effective. Thus, it is much more efficient to get sufficient vitamin K2 from supplements, especially for those who suffer from low bone density and free calcium excess, or suffer from conditions like tooth decay, osteoporosis, osteopenia, heart disease, gall stones and kidney stones.

Vitamin K2 Supplement - Synergy K2

Our sister clinic, Nutrition Diagnostics, has created a vitamin K2 MK-7 supplement. Featuring vitamin K2, vitamin D3 and vitamin A, it has been specifically designed to push calcium into the bones and teeth - removing it from the arteries and promoting healthy teeth, healthy bones and general wellbeing. To learn more about the benefits of Synergy K2, click here.