Calcium and Vitamin C Nourish Healthy Teeth and Gums
IL, 24 February 2004
Source: American Academy of Periodontology
this time of year, people are either benefiting from their New Year's
resolution to eat correctly or in need of encouragement. Since Nutrition
Month Awareness is in March, it's a good time to restart the program.
And, eating correctly not only reduces risks of diabetes and heart
disease, it benefits oral health as well.
diet low in important nutrients can make it harder for the body's
immune system to fight off infection," said Michael P. Rethman,
DDS, MS, and president of the American Academy of Periodontology.
"Periodontitis is a bacterial infection that destroys the tissues
and bone that support the teeth, consequently a well-balanced diet
may benefit oral health."
study that appeared in the Journal of Periodontology found
that men and women who have calcium intakes of fewer than 500 milligrams,
or about half the recommended dietary allowance, were almost twice
as likely to have periodontal diseases as measured by the loss of
attachment of the gums from the teeth. This association was particularly
evident for young adults in their 20s and 30s.
relationship between calcium intake and periodontal diseases may
be due to calcium's role in building density in the alveolar bone
that supports the teeth," said Rethman. "Calcium is necessary for
healthy bones, teeth, muscle contractions and other functions."
has also shown that patients who consumed less than the recommended
60 mg per day of vitamin C (about one orange) were at nearly one-and-a-half
times the risk of developing severe gingivitis as those who consumed
three times the RDA (more than 180 mg). Gingivitis is the mildest
form of periodontal diseases, and it causes the gums to become red,
swell and bleed easily.
relationship between vitamin C and periodontal disease may be due
to vitamin C's role in maintaining and repairing healthy connective
tissue along with its antioxidant properties," said Rethman.
P. Rory O'Neill, DMD, and private practitioner in North Andover,
MA, encourages his patients with diabetes to keep their blood glucose
levels under control because uncontrolled diabetes increases their
risks of periodontal disease. "It is important for patients with
diabetes to reduce cholesterol and serum triglyceride levels through
diet and exercise. Research shows increased serum triglyceride levels
in uncontrolled diabetics seems to be related to greater attachment
loss and probing depths," said O'Neill. "I also recommend patients
limit their intake of fruit juice because juices are high in sugars,
and the acid could lead to abrasion and possibly gum recession."
nutritional recommendations to help keep you smiling include:
lots of water. Keeping your mouth moist is important in warding
off tooth decay and periodontal diseases because it washes
away food and neutralizes plaque.
and flossing after eating sticky foods such as raisins, fruit
rolls or candy.
American Academy of Periodontology is a 7,900-member association
of dental professionals specializing in the prevention, diagnosis
and treatment of disease affecting the gums and supporting structures
of the teeth and in the placement and maintenance of dental implants.
Periodontics is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the
American Dental Association.
Academy of Periodontology (www.perio.org).