Millions of Americans have periodontal disease. Fortunately, when it’s caught early, you and your Fioritto dentist can stop its progression and heal the damage.
While proper oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist are two key factors in periodontal health, your diet makes a difference, too. Here’s how you can adjust your nutrition to ensure a healthier smile.
Why does nutrition matter?
Nutrition plays a significant role in preventing and fighting gum disease. When you have a healthy oral microbiome and robust immune system, your body is better equipped to ward off harmful bacteria.
Periodontal disease is caused by harmful bacteria in your mouth. Without regular brushing and flossing, harmful bacteria can infect your gum tissue. This causes infections, inflammation and bleeding gums. Left unchecked, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and receding gums.
Harmful oral bacteria feeds upon sugar and refined carbohydrates, which is why your Fioritto dentist recommends limiting consumption and brushing after each meal. To further prevent and fight gum infections over the long term, adjust your diet to target disease-fighting nutrients.
Best nutrients to fight and prevent gum disease
These nutrients help your body ward off infections and support your overall oral health:
- Beta carotene: Our bodies turn beta carotene into vitamin A, which helps reduce inflammation. It’s also the compound responsible for the orange color in carrots and sweet potatoes. Eat foods rich in beta carotene to reduce inflammation throughout the body.
- Catechins: Catechins are antioxidants which can inhibit harmful bacteria and prevent inflammation. They’re commonly found in green tea. People who regularly drink green tea are less likely to develop periodontal disease.
- Collagen: Gum disease often results in collagen degradation within the gum tissue. Boost your collagen levels by adding bone broth or chicken with the skin on. While many people forego chicken skin because of the fat content, its collagen content will help support gum health.
- CoQ10: CoQ10 is an antioxidant critical to cell function. The higher your CoQ10 levels, the less likely you’ll be to develop gum disease. Chicken is an excellent source of CoQ10—try to eat several servings per week to prevent or suppress gum inflammation.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce inflammation, and help boost your immune system overall. Nuts, seeds, fatty fish like salmon and grass-fed beef are all high in omega-3s.
- Probiotics: Probiotics are helpful bacteria which fight disease and improve your overall health, including oral health. Fermented foods like kimchi, yogurt and sauerkraut are excellent sources.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C supports your immune system, making it easier for your body to fight harmful bacteria. It also supports collagen maturation, which supports healthy gum tissue. Citrus, sweet potatoes, broccoli and bell peppers are all great sources to add to your diet.
There are many natural sources of the nutrients above, but if your diet doesn’t support them, supplements are often available. Combined with regular dental visits and a good oral hygiene routine, you can prevent gum disease—or at least slow its progression. For more information, schedule a visit with your Fioritto dentist today!