Gum disease or periodontal disease inflicts over half of the adult population. This common oral problem develops from the buildup of plaque, where harmful bacteria reside. Bacteria in plaque causes infection of the gums making them swell, easy to bleed when you brush, and appear red. This is the first stage of gum disease more commonly known as gingivitis.
Gingivitis is often painless which makes it unnoticeable. This result in a gum disease called periodontitis, a worse infection where bacteria corrode the bone structures that support teeth, giving way to tooth loss. At this stage, the patient may notice swelling in the gums as well as bleeding, sores and discharge. The patient most likely suffers bad breath and pain in the gums.
Several causes of gum disease include poor oral hygiene, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and nutrition deficiency.
What is the link between nutrition and gum disease?
Our body needs adequate amounts of nutrients to combat infection, such as gum diseases.
To strengthen the immune system, a person’s diet should include plenty of antioxidants such as vitamin C and flavonoids. The diet should also include other essential nutrients that are particularly helpful in fighting gum disease such as calcium.
Some types of food promote the growth of bacteria and this fact shows how nutrition and gum disease is related. Foods rich in sugar and starch and sticky foods contribute to bacteria buildup.
Here is a quick guide on proper nutrition and gum disease prevention:
- Go for whole foods, which offer many nutrients instead of processed or refined foods
- Limit your sugar consumption by avoiding snacks such as pastries, cakes, soft drinks and sweetened fruit juices.
- Always include fiber in your diet such as whole grain bread and cereals, broccoli, peas, and fruits like pears and oranges
- Get enough supply of vitamin C, flavonoids, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, vitamin B-complex,
- Co-enzyme Q10, calcium, potassium, selenium, magnesium, zinc, iron and phosphorus.
- Enhance your diet with health supplements
To prevent gum disease effectively, proper nutrition should go together with proper dental care. Always remember to brush your teeth at the least two times every day, rinse your mouth with water or a good mouth rinse after meals, floss your teeth once a day, and schedule regular checkups with your dentist.
Outside of proper nutrition – be sure to do the following:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day
- Make sure your toothbrush has soft or extra-soft bristles
- Replace your toothbrush every three months
- Floss daily
- Use a natural mouthwash
- Visit your dentist at least once a year
Nutrition and gum disease treatment
The combination of proper nutrition and gum disease treatment is vital because while proper nutrition does not actually treat gum disease, it significantly helps in speeding up the process of healing and preventing recurrences.