Nutrition and Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)

Dental health is very important to the body’s overall health. Research shows that periodontal disease may lead to many other health issues like premature birth, organ transplant failures, diabetes, stroke and even death. There are many factors, most importantly nutrition, that are vital to maintain and also prevent periodontal disease. It is known that the gum tissue and saliva are affected by nutrition; even though the part nutrition plays in the development of periodontal disease is unclear. Both gum disease treatment and proper nutrition is important because nutrition helps to speed up the healing process and prevent any recurrence.

How Nutrition Affects the Gums

Gum tissue that is healthy will help prevent bacteria from causing gingivitis. Not enough vitamin C, zinc and folic acid causes gum tissue to be more permeable or susceptible to the plaque that causes gum disease. Studies show that those who have lower calcium and vitamin C intakes are at higher risks for disease. This is found to be more profound in former and current tobacco users.

How Nutrition Affects the Immune System

When there is any kind of infection in the gums, the ability of tissues to proper use nutrients is changed and this interferes with repair and healing. Lack of nutrition can weaken the resistance that gum tissues have to bacteria. Dentists and oral hygienists are able to identify nutrient weaknesses by looking for signs and symptoms, including soreness, burning, bleeding and ulcerations. If the dental patient has a nutrition deficiency or if the patient’s oral health is affecting the patient’s overall health, many times a referral is given for a dietitian or doctor. They can help and prevent serious consequences from nutritional deficiencies.

Here are some everyday tips on proper nutrition and dental care to help prevent gum disease:

1. Avoid processed or refined foods that do not have any nutritional value.
2. Include a lot of fiber in your diet.
3. Add health supplements to your diet.
4. Get plenty of vitamin C, A, E, D B-complex, potassium, zinc, Co-enzyme Q10, potassium, selenium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron.
5. Limit sugar intake by avoiding soda, sweetened fruit juices, white rice and flour, cakes and cookies and syrups.

Proper dental care and good nutrition together can effectively prevent gum disease. It is important to brush teeth regularly, rinse the mouth after meals, floss, regularly change toothbrushes and have regular checkups with a dentist.