Can Diet Help Treat Gum Disease?

Can Diet Help Treat Gum Disease?

You don’t need an Erie, CO dentist to tell you that what you eat can impact your oral health.

Most of us have heard since childhood that sugar rots our teeth, but that’s not entirely true. Plaque, a sticky biofilm comprised of harmful oral bacteria and food particles that linger in the mouth after eating, uses the sugars we consume to produce harmful acids that slowly erode our tooth enamel.

Obviously, like giving a Pixie Stick to a hyperactive child, the more sugar we consume the more fuel plaque has to create havoc on our oral health. Patients who have trouble avoiding sweet treats for breakfast, mid-afternoon sugar rushes or who sip on soda throughout the day have a higher risk for developing tooth decay and cavities when compared to patients who avoid added sugars by eating a more balanced diet.

Of course, if eating too much sugar can harm your oral health, it only makes sense that eating more of other types of foods could actually improve the health of your teeth and gums.

On that note, a recent study has found that a plant-based wholefood diet rich with omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin D can help to naturally reduce gum inflammation. Based on the results of this study, researchers have recommended that patients who have developed any form of gum disease – whether early stage gingivitis or late stage periodontitis – consider trying this diet as a way to improve their gum health.

Treating Gum Disease by Changing Your Diet

In the study, researchers separated 30 patients with gingivitis into two randomized groups. Participants in both the control and test groups underwent a thorough dental evaluation to determine the amount of plaque buildup impacting their oral health. The test group was switched to a diet low in processed carbs and animal proteins, and rich in vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acid, vitamin D, plant nitrates, antioxidants and fiber for a six-week period. The control remained on their usual diet.

Both groups stopped using dental floss, and did not floss using any type of product during the six-week study session.

Based on the results of the study, researchers found no detectable difference in the amount of plaque on either groups’ teeth. However, the experimental group’s teeth showed a significant reduction in bleeding when compared to the control group. In addition to the improved gum health, the test group showed a significant increase in vitamin D levels and some appreciable weight loss.

“Study results clearly demonstrate the possibility to natural reduce gingivitis by an optimized diet that also promotes general health. According to this, dentists should address dietary habits and give adequate recommendations in the treatment of gingivitis,” wrote the research team.

Protecting Your Oral Health

In addition to establishing diet as a key contributing factor to treating gum disease, researchers also pointed to a need for preventative dental care. While diet plays an important role in treating gum disease, preventative care, such as brushing, flossing and receiving regular dental care, offer the best chance for reducing a patient’s risk for developing gum disease.

So while you might not need an Erie, Co dentist to tell what to eat, you certain need to spend some time visiting our office to ensure you enjoy a healthy, great looking smile for a lifetime.

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