There are various reasons people choose to take vitamins. Some take vitamins to keep their minds sharp, some take vitamins for energy. Women who are expecting are prescribed vitamins to keep them and their baby healthy. Has it ever occurred to you to take vitamins to keep your gums healthy? Research has shown that gum disease can affect more than your dental health. It can affect your heart and contribute to other chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension, and dementia. Having gum disease doubles your chances of experiencing heart-related health problems. In today’s blog, your Lake Forest Dentist, Dr. Fondriest discusses foods and vitamins that help keep gums healthy.
Link between Gum Disease and Heart Health
In the past your oral health seemed unrelated to other systems of your body. You learned in school that your mouth was considered part of your digestive system, but other than that you brushed your teeth to keep them white and attractive, to keep cavities at bay, and to avoid dentures in the future. Today we know that gum disease doesn’t only affect your teeth, it affects your overall health. If your gums become inflamed due to infection, your body produces chemicals that cause inflammation to fight the infection. The caveat is that the inflammation is not site specific. It does not contain itself to the site of infection. The inflammation occurs throughout your body. Periodontal (gum) disease is a chronic disease, which means your body experiences chronic inflammation which can cause health issues.
How to Keep Your Gums Healthy
Brushing twice a day and flossing daily helps eliminate plaque that causes gum disease. There are other measures you can take too. Eating the right foods, or supplementing your diet with the right vitamins, can help keep your gums healthy.
Your immune system requires Vitamin A to keep it strong and healthy. Vitamin A also is known to help heal damaged gingival tissue. The following foods contain vitamin A:
- Cod liver oil
- Green leafy lettuce
- Sweet potatoes and yams
Your immune system requires vitamin C to keep it healthy. Your immune system helps white blood cells keep oral bacteria under control, minimizing your chances of developing gum disease. Vitamin C is also essential for healthy connective tissue. Gum tissue is connective tissue. It connects your teeth to your jaw bone socket. Keeping your gum tissue healthy helps prevent gum disease, but it also helps avoid tooth loss. Studies indicate that 160 or more milligrams of vitamin C a day can significantly lower your risk of gum disease. The following foods contain vitamin C:
- Brussels sprouts
- Bell peppers
Vitamin D is also required to support a healthy immune system, and it helps decrease inflammation, hence promoting gum health. Foods that contain vitamin D include:
- Organ meats
- Fatty fish: salmon, tuna, sardines
Folic acid promotes healthy cell growth of the gingival tissue. For healthy gums, you need 400 mcg of folic acid per day. Foods that contain folic acid include:
- Citrus fruits
- Green leafy vegetables
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Rich in antioxidants, CoQ10 provides your cells with energy and helps maintain the health of your gingival tissue (your gums). It is also effective at healing damaged gum tissue. Research studies indicate CoQ10 can reduce the signs of gum disease including bleeding, inflammation, and pocket depth. For people suffering from gum disease, a daily supplement of 200 milligrams has been shown to improve gum health. The following foods contain CoQ10:
- Organ meats such as livers and hearts
- Beef, pork and chicken; organ meats such as the heart have the highest amount) and
- Fatty fish: sardines, herring, salmon, tuna and mackerel.
About Your Lake Forest Dentist:
Aside from providing expert family and cosmetic dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds highly-respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, and knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve patients from Chicago and all surrounding communities. To schedule your consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.