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Eat Your Way to Healthier Gums

  • February 26, 2016

March is National Nutrition Month, and this annual health observation makes it a great time of year to remind our patients that a healthy diet is good for more than the waistline; it benefits your gumline, too.

Your diet has an effect on oral disease. The right diet can prevent gum disease from developing, and taking certain nutritional supplements can stop it in its tracks, according to the Institute for Optimum Nutrition.

Several nutritional deficiencies are associated with periodontal disease, according to the ION. The best documented is vitamin C. Other deficiencies associated with increased risk of gum disease include vitamins D, A, E and calcium.

People who have low vitamin C levels often are more susceptible to bacterial toxins.

“A low dietary intake of calcium is associated with severe periodontal attachment loss, and prevalence of periodontal disease decreases with high intake of dairy products,” according to RDH Magazine.

Protein, vitamin D or calcium deficiencies may lead to bone resorption around the teeth, as well as the destruction of the periodontal ligaments that anchor your teeth to the jawbones.

“Hippocrates is credited with saying, ‘Let food be thy medicine,’ and that is a prominent approach that we promote in our practice,” says Dr. David DiGiallorenzo.

Dr. DiGiallorenzo works with patients individually to customize an approach designed to address each person’s medical needs according to their health history and periodontal diagnosis. He promotes a nutrient-rich diet centered on fresh, organic foods, foods that are high in calcium, and lean proteins. He also recommends that at least half the grains in your diet be whole grains.

Foods that are high in bioflavonoids, such as blue-black fruits, onions, citrus pith and hawthorn berries help maintain healthy collagen structure, according to the ION. Collagen is present in the periodontal ligaments.

Probiotics are another supplement Dr. DiGiallorenzo often recommends to patients for improved oral health.

Defined by the World Health Organization as “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host,” probiotics also commonly are referred to as “good bacteria.” In addition to being available as a supplement, probiotics are found in yogurt, juices, milks, cheeses and soy products, according o RDH Magazine.

Because periodontal disease is closely connected to inflammation, Dr. DiGiallorenzo also recommends that patients with periodontal disease avoid foods that cause inflammation, such as processed carbohydrates and other foods with high sugar content, which heart disease researchers have suggested lead to chronic inflammation.

It is possible to eat a proper diet that promotes oral and overall health. You can learn more about nutritional therapies offered in our office here.