The health of your gums is influenced by a number of factors such as oral hygiene, genetic factors, your overall health and nutrition. Many studies have found that a balanced diet plays an important role in maintaining the health of your gums. Additionally, nutritional supplements and a healthy diet have been known to affect healing after gum surgery. Also bone formation and gum rejuvenation are affected by numerous vitamins, minerals, and trace elements.
In other words, a healthy diet is not just essential for your whole body, it’s essential to maintain healthy teeth and gums. We need healthy teeth and gums to eat nutritious foods. And we need to eat nutritious foods for healthy teeth!
Over half of Americans have some form of gum disease (also called periodontal disease). Fortunately, if you catch your gum disease early enough you can stop the progression and reverse damage. These key nutrients will help you fight gum disease:
- Nuts and seeds high in omega 3s
These include macadamia nuts, pistachios, sesame seeds. Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory but also have an inverse relationship with gum disease. These nuts are great sources of nutrients as well.
- Salmon or other fatty fish
Oily fish such a salmon, herring, and mackerel are great sources of nutrients and are high in omega-3s. Rich in minerals and important vitamins like Vitamin D, fish are a crucial part of any teeth-friendly diet.
- Grass-fed beef
Because we don’t eat organ meats like our ancestors did, we need to be conscientious about our collagen intake. Grass-fed beef contains collagen, which is great for fighting gum disease. Grain-fed beef is packed with omega-6s, antibiotics, and other inflammatory, disease causing components. It’s just not worth it to eat grain-fed beef anymore.
Chicken contains CoQ10 and collagen, which are both excellent in the fight against gum disease. Don’t skip the skin either. Many people forgo eating the chicken skin because it’s high in fat, but chicken skin is packed with collagen.
- Bone broth
We don’t eat the whole animal like we once did, which means we’re missing out on important nutrients like collagen. But you can get more of this nutrient in your diet with bone broth. Bone broth is gaining popularity as a health superfood because it’s a delicious way for us to get more of the nutrients we miss out on in the modern world.
- Shiitake mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms contain lentinan, which attacks the harmful gum disease-causing bacteria while leaving other bacteria alone. Shiitake mushrooms are also powerfully anti-inflammatory and have been seen in studies to reduce numerous inflammatory markers.
- Leafy greens (spinach, broccoli, kale)
Healthy, leafy greens are rich in calcium, folic acid and lots of important vitamins and minerals that your teeth and gums love. Broccoli also provides tons of other nutrients such as Vitamin B1, magnesium, iron, calcium, niacin, and selenium. Any nutrient dense diet should contain broccoli.
- Red and green bell peppers
High in Vitamin C, red and green bell peppers are a great addition to a gum disease fighting diet. One cup of red bell peppers contains over 300% of your daily recommended allowance of Vitamin C.
- Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of many nutrients, specifically their beta carotene content. Beta carotene is an essential nutrient in the fight against gum disease. It reduces inflammation and provides your body with the elements it needs to create Vitamin A. Sweet potatoes also contain high levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and Manganese.
- Green tea
Green tea is high in catechins, one of the key gum disease-fighting nutrients. One study that analyzed 940 men found that those who drink more green tea have a lower chance of developing gum disease.
Cacao is also high in disease-fighting catechins, which help stop gum disease. Cacao is great for your teeth overall because it fights cavities, plaque, and tooth decay and is much more effective than fluoride. Cacao also contains a compound called CBH, which hardens your enamel.
Yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi and rich in probiotics which support the good bacteria in your mouth and reduce gingivitis and plaque buildup.
What about fruits?
Most citrus fruits are very acidic which is not good for your teeth, but oranges are the least acidic of all and have all the health benefits that you can expect from fruits. And if you want perfect teeth, you better love strawberries! They are packed with Vitamin C, antioxidants and also malic acid, which could even naturally whiten your teeth. Apples are packed with key nutrients and vitamins, while cranberries are especially effective at disrupting the process of plaque formation.
The best weapon against gum disease is to know how it’s caused and what can be done to prevent it. Proper oral care and regular visits to our office help you stave off the first symptoms of gum disease will help you keep healthy gums. A proper diet will prevent gums from degenerating.
As a holistic dentist and naturopathic doctor, Dr. Gashinsky can help you choose the right nutrition and help you with treatments that will restore and rejuvenate your gums.
The Role of Nutrition in Periodontal Health: An Update – National Institutes of Health, Shariq Najeeb, Muhammad Sohail Zafar,Zohaib Khurshid, Sana Zohaib, and Khalid Almas
Precision Nutrition, Community Dentist Network, University of Rochester, Medical Center.