It is well known that gum disease or Periodontitis can wreak havoc on the entire body, causing negative effects not just in the mouth, but in virtually all the organ systems in the body. Hence, the consequences of untreated active Periodontitis can become life-threatening. In addition to traditional gum disease treatments (deep cleaning and smoothening of the root surfaces, antibiotics, surgery, etc.) there is a growing body of evidence citing the effectiveness of treatment through nutrition and diet modification. An article that was recently published on Dentistry IQ stresses in detail the significance of this type of treatment.
Nutritional counseling and nutritional screening have typically not been used as often as other treatments for gum disease. It has long been recognized that reducing the frequency of sweets in your diet is a great way lower your decay exposure and treat cavities. However, it is rare that professionals target diet alteration as a means for treating Periodontitis. As studies continue and research finds the links between Periodontitis and nutrition, dentists and hygienists will become more knowledgeable and receive more training in this developing field. Hopefully this will have an impact on the profound prevalence (some studies say up to 80% of the population have some form or another of gum disease) of Periodontal disease.
Findings of Current Research Studies
Recently published studies in the Journal of the American Dental Association suggest consuming higher levels of antioxidants are a means to lower your risks of developing Periodontitis as well as improving outcomes of treatments traditionally used. This suggestion is backed by The British Journal of Nutrition, which cites the significance of antioxidants in treating a number of periodontal conditions with certain vitamins. Such vitamins and substances include, but are not limited to, the following antioxidants:
- Alpha tocopherol (Vitamin E)
- Minerals such as selenium, manganese, zinc and copper
- Beta carotene (a plant carotenoid and precursor to Vitamin A)
- Eugenol (a natural oil and calcineurin inhibitor with cardiac benefits)
- Curuminoids (a variety of bioflavonoid)
- Ascorbic acid (a form of Vitamin C)
- Spirulina fusiforms (blue-green algae packed with phytonutrients)
Additionally, The Journal of Clinical Periodontology has found calcium and Vitamin D to be natural preventers of periodontitis.
Oral Health and Antioxidants
Antioxidants are significantly necessary for oral and general health; they have been proven beneficial by reliable organizations and authoritative studies. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, minimizing risks of cancer, improving health and immune system functioning, and perhaps even slowing down the aging process. Free radicals are dangerous because they damage the body through oxidation of our DNA, which regulates our basic life processes at the cellular level. The less free radicals, the less damage to our DNA. Antioxidants not only provide DNA protection, but have been associated with cardiovascular health, immune system support, bone health, eye health, skin health, brain health, yes and even gum health!
Eating healthy foods and taking vitamin supplements that are easily absorbed and high in anti-oxidants are some of the best methods consume a diet that will reduce free radicals. Generally, brightly colored fruits and vegetables contain the highest number of antioxidants . The following are just a few of the colorful superfoods can be purchased at your grocery store:
- Kidney beans
- Blueberries and Raspberries
- Carrots and most yellow or orange vegetables
- Cranberries and Blackberries
- Cherries and Strawberries
Biophotonic Scanner Tests Antioxidants Inexpensively and Easily.
In the past, blood testing and nutritional advising have been traditionally used to help people eat healthy. The Pharmanex BioPhotonic Scanner is a new invention that is becoming more common and is an immediate, noninvasive method of measuring overall carotenoid antioxidant activity. It is less expensive, more accurate and faster than traditional blood testing, providing results in fewer than 90 seconds. Unlike blood tests, it actually measures the level of antioxidants such as carotenoids at the level of the cells, not just in the blood stream. I personally have been tested twice with the scanner and as a result of healthy changes to my diet and taking readily absorbed antioxidant supplements such as Lifepak Nano from Pharmanex (sold by NuSkin) I have been able to more than double my measured antioxidants at the cellular level in just a few months. Use of this scanner is likely to become more popular, since it has been recently endorsed by Dr. Oz. It is probable that Biophotonic Scanning will soon become the norm for nutritional management of Periodontal (gum) disease.
If you want more information or just want to talk, feel free to contact Pia at my Southfield dental office at 248-356-8790 to schedule an appointment.
Well, that’s all for today, until next time…
Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD