Periodontal disease is a chronic infection of the gums, bone and tissues surrounding your teeth. This serious condition is very common among adults and is currently the leading cause of tooth loss. While it is well known that poor dental hygiene and smoking are large contributors to this disease, there is a large body of research supporting the fact that diet and nutrition may also play an important role in either contributing to or helping to prevent periodontal disease.
So what role does diet and nutrition play in either contributing to or preventing periodontal disease? First of all, periodontal disease is caused by bacteria, and the bacteria that causes periodontal disease thrive in an acidic environment. Therefore, eating sugars and other foods that increase acidity in the mouth increases bacterial counts and can contribute to periodontal disease. However, you do not have to cut these foods out of your diet altogether. Rather, it is important for you to eat a balanced diet that covers a variety of different food groups including an adequate intake of fruits, vegetables and fiber. If you do eat sugary foods, it is important to rinse your mouth afterwards, or, even better, floss and brush your teeth.
There is also some research that shows that getting an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals, specifically, vitamin C and Calcium, can help to prevent periodontal disease. It is not fully understood exactly what role vitamins and minerals play in preventing periodontal disease, however, there are a few logical theories. One theory is that getting an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C helps to boost the body’s immune system. It is thought that this may help individuals fight off the infection.
Clearly, a lot more research is needed regarding the important topic of the role of diet and nutrition in periodontal disease. However, it has been firmly established that eating a healthy, balanced diet and keeping up with your nutritional health can help to prevent a number of serious health problems including heart disease, Diabetes, certain types of cancer and more.