Top 6 foods to fight Gum Disease

Well, 6, 8 or 15…it is tough to pick up a right number when most of my patients are foodies (as well as myself!). This is not a post to punish anyone with 24/7 leaf lettuce regime, so you can actually carry on reading.

In dentistry food is highly important – if your dentist doesn’t tackle diet, we are missing one big important cause of gum disease.

Dental caries and gum disease are mayor contributors to the tooth loss of natural teeth in adults. There are two forms of gum disease: Gingivitis, which causes inflammation of the gingiva, and Periodontitis, a non-treated gingivitis which could destroy the bone that support your teeth.

Dear all, I have to warn you this is a slightly longer post.. however, I do promise this will be an eye opening post for many of you. I am introducing a topic that I feel inspired and excited to share with you.

Inflammation is the primary cause of cardiovascular disease and periodontal disease. But there is such a thing as inflammatory food? yes, and plenty of it! Alcohol, artificial trans fat, refined carbohydrates and MEAT: include sausage, bacon, ham, smoked meat, and beef jerky. All which contribute to the development of high-grade systemic inflammation.

A study in 2019, in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology found that people who eat an anti-inflammatory diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish are less likely to have gingivitis and help to reverse the gum disease.

We are here to live life to the fullest – and that statement involves making the most of what mother nature generously brings us daily. Following the current scientific evidence, the best food to prevent gum disease is mainly plant-based diet.

Moreover, we can only stop the progression of gum disease with a combination approach including three essential elements:

1. A gum disease fighting diet

2 Proper oral hygiene

3. Professional care

Easier said than done! – We have to start somewhere, and before tackling delicious gum-friendly food (yes, the actual topic of the post) lets grab a cleansing cocktail and briefly touch on: Oral hygiene.

Oral health habits are the key to paradise. How to get there?

  • Use wooden interdental brushes
  • Change your toothbrush every three months
  • Gentle but efficient brushing (I often suggest to my patients brush with their opposite non-dominant hand to prevent this)
  • Avoid Listerine (too acidic! and contains potentially cancer-causing chemicals)

Now let’s get to the heart of the matter- Food is our medicine and its influence on gum disease is not exception. You can have great dental habits and still wind up with gum disease, but if you aren’t getting the right nutrients to support a unbeatable immune system.

Key healthful gum foods

1. Nuts and seeds

Such as flaxseed, chia seeds, quinoa, walnuts, pistachios, sesame seeds. Omega-3s are essential to a well-rounded, nutrient-dense diet. Omega-3s are great for you because they are anti-inflammatory, but also have an inverse relationship with gum disease. These nuts are great sources of nutrients as well.

2. Fish oil

I Just had my breakfast but can’t help feeling hungry again when it comes to fish, specially if it is fresh. Salmon, sardines, herring, trout and cod liver are among the most common sources of natural fish oil. These oils are available in capsules or liquid form. Natural fish oil contains the omega-3 fatty healthy acids EPA and DHA. It also provides vitamins A and D.

3. Delicious fruits

Sazon! Will Celia Cruz probably says (a talented Cuban singer). Guavas, kiwi, red and green bell peppers, oranges, broccoli, strawberries, papaya & tomato are packed with Vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant in the body. Vitamin C seem to play an important role in gingival and periodontal inflammation.

4. Veggies with good source of beta-carotene

Beta Carotene –is a provitamin your body turns into Vitamin A, which reduces inflammation and is an essential nutrient in the fight against gum disease. Let’s get some carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, spinach or kale.

5. Legumes: Soybeans, lentils, and peanuts

These beans are rich Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) this can suppress the progression of periodontal inflammation & inhibitimg harmful bacteria. CoQ10 creates energy within your cells and functions as an antioxidant, protecting your cells from free radical damage, that can lead to serious diseases, and effectively suppresses advanced periodontal inflammation.

6. Cacao

Lastly, I would like to introduce you to Mr Cacao.  Not just going for the easy likes here(!), but yes, Cacao it is good for your gums, as is high in disease-fighting catechins, which help stop gum disease.

Just before bringing down the curtain – For those with a dark side, the cacao must be dark chocolate, which contains copious quantities of polyphenols and tannins, without the added sucrose. Go for raw CACAO chocolate that is 70 percent or more. Cacao and cocoa differ in processing. Cacao hasn’t been exposed to high heat and is still raw.

Inflammation can occur in response to many triggers, some of which are hard to prevent, including pollution, injury, or sickness.

However, you have much more control over factors like your diet.

If you are a keen cook, and have a yummy recipe in mind or you just find one with any of the food I have mentioned above, please do get in touch with me😊 I would love to feature them on here to create an easy to use resource for everyone!

Share this advice with a friend or family member who has gum disease. We now know that diet is the first line of defense against gum disease and it’s important to spread the word.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates

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