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  Posted by: Dental Design      16th July 2022

As we move into the warmer months, it’s important that we go outside and take advantage of the sun’s rays. It’s a well-known fact that the sun is beneficial to our health, both physically and mentally.

Throughout history, the sun has been an integral figure in the cycle of daily life for almost all ancient peoples and societies. In ancient Egypt, Ra was a solar deity and was thought to not only embody the power of the sun, but was also the sun itself. In Japanese mythology, it was Amaterasu, goddess of the sun. For the ancient Greeks, Helios was the god and personification of the sun. With such a rich history of beliefs throughout history, it’s difficult to generalise the influence of the sun on everyday life, religion and culture throughout the centuries. However, in some form or another, the sun has often been revered as a symbol for strength, warmth, growth and life.

In the modern day, the sun may not seem as imposing a presence as it once was, but thanks to modern science and medicine, we have now further conceptualised its importance to our health and lives.

Sunlight and our health

As we all know, the sun is one of the most immediate sources of vitamin D,[i] a group of fat-soluble secosteriods that aids the regulation of calcium and phosphate in the body.[ii] It has been suggested that around 15 to 30 minutes of sun exposure around 2 to 3 times a week is sufficient to produce the required amount of vitamin D,i although this continues to be debated. Various skin types are affected in different ways; a UK study[iii] was conducted to determine whether sunlight at UK latitudes provides an adequate amount of vitamin D for different sections of the population. Researchers concluded that the lighter-skinned population is able to meet their UK needs with short, daily exposures to sunlight. Those with darker skin tones may need more ultraviolet radiation (UVR) to make the same amount of vitamin D in their skin as those with lighter skin.

Healthy exposure to sunlight is vastly beneficial to health, mental as well as physical. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that is triggered during seasons or times of the year, usually in the colder months.[iv] Those affected may suffer from a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, feeling anxious and sleep too much or too little.iv  Light is thought to play a role in the development of this disorder,[v] with light therapies being employed in order to reduce depressive symptoms.[vi]

Our oral health

Interestingly, sunlight can also impact our oral health. A narrative review[vii] noted that vitamin D may influence the immune system, and provide some anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects, thus affecting the severity and progression of periodontal disease. A Japanese study[viii] found that pregnant women who had a high intake of vitamin D during their pregnancy could reduce the risk of dental caries in their children. A systematic review[ix] also suggested that vitamin D exposure in early life may boost caries prevention.

Despite the importance of relative sun exposure, vitamin D deficiency (VDD) is considered a global health concern.[x] Not only does VDD cause severe health issues such as rickets in infants and osteomalacia in adults,[xi] but it can also induce defective tooth mineralisation in children. Additionally, VDD has been associated with a greater prevalence of periodontitis and gingival inflammation.[xii] 

As a dental professional, educating patients on the benefits of healthy sun exposure will give them another reason to enjoy the weather, and ensures they’re able to absorb a sufficient amount of vitamin D. Of course, adequate and safe sun exposure should be an adjunct to a comprehensive dental hygiene routine, for optimal oral health.

Not too much, not too little

For a thoroughly deep clean, the Waterpik® Ultra Professional Water Flosser is an impressive partner to oral health, helping to remove bacteria where brushing and traditional flossing can’t reach. This compact solution removes up to 99% of plaque and is 50% more effective for improving gum health versus string floss.[xiii] [xiv] Included with this model are 7 flossing tips, a one-minute timer and a water on/off button in the handle for improved dexterity. The Waterpik® Ultra Professional Water Flosser is also 3 times as effective as string floss for patients with dental implants, crowns, bridges and veneers.[xv]

The sun is a natural powerhouse that provides all life with much of the sustenance it requires. Despite the well-known, harmful effects too much sun can have on our health, with good moderation, many of its positive benefits can be fully experienced and appreciated.


For more information on Waterpik® Water Flosser products visit Waterpik® products are available from Amazon, Costco UK, Argos, Boots, Superdrug and Tesco online and in stores across the UK and Ireland.

Join the 3,000+ dental teams who have already benefitted from a professional Waterpik® Lunch & Learn. Book your free session for 1 hour of verifiable CPD and a free Waterpik® Water Flosser – available either face to face or as a webinar – at 


Author: Margaret Black

I have more than 40 years experience in dental practice starting as a dental nurse in an nhs practice in 1978 and qualified as a dental hygienist in 1992. I worked for 21 years in nhs practice before becoming a clinical hygienist research assistant with the University of Dundee. Presently I fill my time as a self employed locum hygienist  Even Brighter Hygienist  Services and presently cover 7 mainly private practices in Fife/Tayside/Perthshire and Angus.  My enthusiasm for perio has never waned, and my post as a Professional Educator for Waterpik has enabled me to share experience gained over the years with other professionals and I love meeting lovely teams in different practices and settings. In my personal life I am married with a grown up daughter, and enjoy networking with other professionals, reading, walking our Cockapoo and ‘grandpup’ Goldendoodle and spending time with friends and family. 


[i] Jindal, A.K., Gupta, A., Vinay, K. and Bishnoi, A. (2020). Sun Exposure in Children: Balancing the Benefits and Harms. Indian Dermatology Online Journal, [online] 11(1), pp.94–98. Available at: [Accessed 19 Apr. 2022].

[ii] NHS (2020). Vitamin D – Vitamins and Minerals. [online] NHS. Available at: [Accessed 19 Apr. 2022].

[iii] Webb, A., Kazantzidis, A., Kift, R., Farrar, M., Wilkinson, J. and Rhodes, L. (2018). Colour Counts: Sunlight and Skin Type as Drivers of Vitamin D Deficiency at UK Latitudes. Nutrients, [online] 10(4), p.457. Available at: [Accessed 19 Apr. 2022].

[iv] (n.d.). About SAD. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Apr. 2022].

[v] Shankar, A. and Williams, C.T. (2021). The darkness and the light: diurnal rodent models for seasonal affective disorder. Disease Models & Mechanisms, [online] 14(1). Available at: [Accessed 19 Apr. 2022].

[vi] Munir, S. and Abbas, M. (2022). Seasonal Depressive Disorder. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Apr. 2022].

[vii] Dragonas, P., El-Sioufi, I., Bobetsis, Y. and Madianos, P.N. (2020). Association of Vitamin D With Periodontal Disease: A Narrative Review. Oral Health & Preventive Dentistry, [online] 18(1):103-114. Available at:  [Accessed 19 Apr. 2022].

[viii] Tanaka, K., Hitsumoto, S., Miyake, Y., Okubo, H., Sasaki, S., Miyatake, N. and Arakawa, M. (2015). Higher vitamin D intake during pregnancy is associated with reduced risk of dental caries in young Japanese children. Annals of Epidemiology, [online] 25(8), pp.620–625. Available at:  [Accessed 19 Apr. 2022].

[ix] Hujoel, P.P. (2012). Vitamin D and dental caries in controlled clinical trials: systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition Reviews, [online] 71(2), pp.88–97. Available at: [Accessed 19 Apr. 2022].

[x] Kulkarni, B., Augustine, L. and Nair, Km. (2021). Sun exposure as a strategy for acquiring vitamin D in developing countries of tropical region: Challenges & way forward. Indian Journal of Medical Research, [online] 0(0), p.0. Available at: [Accessed 19 Apr. 2022].

[xi] Chang, S.-W. and Lee, H.-C. (2019). Vitamin D and health – The missing vitamin in humans. Pediatrics & Neonatology, [online] 60(3), pp.237–244. Available at: [Accessed 19 Apr. 2022].

[xii] Botelho, J., Machado, V., Proença, L., Delgado, A.S. and Mendes, J.J. (2020). Vitamin D Deficiency and Oral Health: A Comprehensive Review. Nutrients, [online] 12(5). Available at: [Accessed 19 Apr. 2022].

[xiii] Waterpik UK. Waterpik Water Flosser removes 99.9% of plaque biofilm. Available online. [Accessed 19 Apr. 22]

[xiv] Waterpik UK. Waterpik Water Flosser: Twice as effective as string floss. Available online. Accessed 19 Apr. 22]

[xv] Waterpik® Water Flosser: 3 Times as Effective as String Floss for Orthodontic Patients. (n.d.). [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Apr. 2022].

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