Will Nutrition Prevent Gum Disease?
A recent German study has found that a healthy diet containing lots of fruits, vegetables (especially legumes), nuts and fish, and minimizing trans-fatty acids, sugar, dairy products and other animal protein helps protect your mouth against gum disease and other inflammatory diseases. The study worked with two groups – one group was put on a healthy diet as described above, including vitamin D supplements; the other group made no changes in their usual diet. The study found that “Western diets promote gingival and other inflammatory diseases”, and concluded with, “If your dentist doesn’t talk about diet, he’s missing one of the causes of gum inflammation.”1
At our Holistic Dental Center, we place a lot of importance on a healthy diet, simply because bad food, sugars, acidic foods and drinks and vitamin-poor food can do a lot of damage to your teeth and gums.
Healthy foods, vitamins and minerals as a daily diet protect your mouth against inflammations and disease and are of great preventive value. For example, studies have found that probiotics and Omega-3 fatty acids have a very therapeutic effect on inflammations in the mouth and help prevent these from occurring.2
More and more, we are coming to the realization that the foods we ingest are an important part of the human inflammatory process.3
With so many food choices available today, it is important for us to help our patients understand which foods comprise a healthy diet. We teach our patients to avoid processed foods and sugar as much as possible. A nutritious diet includes lots of green, leafy vegetables, legumes and beans, raw fruits, nuts, and lean meats such as oily fish.
Since periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease, foods that are known inflammation fighters are important for periodontal patients to include in their diets, such as salmon, tuna, and sardines, high in omega-3 and vitamin D; brightly colored fruit and vegetables such as red onions, tomatoes, broccoli, red cabbage, garlic, red bell pepper, red grapes, cherries, plums, oranges; all kinds of raw fruit, as fruit consumption has been shown in numerous studies to offer our strongest protection against certain cancers, especially oral.
If you, your friends or members of your family have questions about improving your diet, contact us for a consultation. We stand ready to help you keep a healthy smile!
1 Journal of Clinical Periodontology
2 Nackaerts et al., J Clin Periodontol 2008;35:1048-52
3 National Magazine for Dental Hygiene Professionals