Periodontal health plays an essential role in maintaining a person’s overall health. Factors such as proper oral hygiene, regular flossing and regular visits to the dentist are well known to be essential in maintaining periodontal health.
However, proper nutritional intake also plays a significant role in promoting periodontal health. This article focuses on the importance of proper nutrition in maintaining periodontal health and presents some practical tips for optimal nutritional intake.
The periodontium is the collection of tissues that surround and support the teeth. Periodontal health involves a delicate balance between pathogenic factors and host defense factors.
Stages of periodontal disease:
Gingival inflammation – also called gingivitis, is the first stage of periodontal disease.
Clinically, the gums are inflamed, red, mildly painful and bleeding on brushing. It is almost exclusively due to dental plaque deposits, especially those at the boundary between the tooth and gum.
Through improper hygiene or incorrect brushing technique, plaque deposits grow, damaging periodontal structures. Other medications such as antidepressants and contraceptives have a side effect of gum inflammation.
Certain physiological conditions such as pregnancy or hormonal changes in adolescence may be accompanied by gingivitis. By maintaining good oral hygiene, however, the risk of periodontal disease is reduced.
Periodontal disease – the injured gum heals through a slight retraction so that it will be inserted further towards the root.
This continuous process of inflammation and retraction, together with the bacterial gradient constantly present in the oral cavity leads to bone resorption phenomena.
While in the stage of gingival inflammation the process is reversible and the gums can recover their structure following therapy, when the inflammation spreads to the bone and the bone resorbs, there is no way back to the original situation.
Proper nutrition has a significant impact on this balance and can influence the development of periodontal disease.
Therefore, understanding the role of nutrition in maintaining periodontal health is essential.
The role of macro and micro nutrients in periodontal health: A balanced diet, rich in macro and micro nutrients, is vital for maintaining periodontal health.
Macro nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates and lipids provide the energy needed for periodontal tissue repair and regeneration.
They also play a role in strengthening the immune system, which is essential in fighting bacterial infections.
Micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, also have a significant impact on periodontal health. Vitamin C, for example, is essential for the synthesis of collagen, a major component of periodontal tissues.
Vitamin C deficiency can lead to weakening of periodontal tissues and increase the risk of periodontal disease.
Other important nutrients for periodontal health include vitamin D, vitamin K, calcium and magnesium.
Recommendations for correct nutritional intake:
To maintain periodontal health, it is important to follow a balanced diet and to be careful about consuming foods that can damage periodontal health. Here are some recommendations for correct nutritional intake:
Eat a variety of healthy foods:
Include in your diet a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Opt for whole grains, legumes and lean proteins such as fish, chicken and tofu. Avoid processed foods high in sugar and unhealthy fats.
Ensure adequate intake of vitamin C:
Vitamin C plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy periodontal tissues. Include in your diet citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, berries, broccoli and bell peppers, which are excellent sources of vitamin C.
Eat foods rich in vitamin D:
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and gums. Good sources of vitamin D include oily fish (salmon, tuna, sardines), eggs and vitamin D-fortified dairy products.
Ensure adequate calcium and magnesium intake:
These minerals are crucial for bone and periodontal tissue health. Consume foods such as milk and dairy products, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables to get an adequate intake of calcium and magnesium.
Avoid excessive consumption of sugar and processed foods:
Sugar feeds bacteria in the oral cavity and contributes to dental plaque and periodontal disease. Limit consumption of sweets, sweetened drinks and processed foods containing added sugar.
Consume enough healthy fats:
Healthy fats, such as those in olive oil, avocados and nuts, have anti-inflammatory effects and can contribute to gum health.
Maintain adequate hydration: Water is essential for hydrating the body and producing saliva, which helps naturally cleanse the oral cavity and neutralize acid in the mouth.
Vitamins and their role in periodontal health
The periodontium is the tissues that surround the dental units and play a role in stabilizing them.
They are sensitive to harmful environmental stimuli and can suffer even irreversible alterations. While in the beginning, periodontal changes are reversible and health can be restored with minimally invasive therapy, in advanced stages of damage this is no longer possible.
As a result, the changes are irreversible, permanent and what can be done is to preserve the local situation. In the unfavorable case, the progression of periodontal disease will continue.
Also called folic acid, vitamin B9 is found in our diet mainly in spinach, lettuce, mushrooms and cereals. Folate stimulates the hematopoietic system and thus plays an important role in cell regeneration. In the periodontium, vitamin B9 is an adjuvant in the healing process. For an enhanced therapeutic effect, it is recommended to combine B-complex with vitamin C.
Also called ascorbic acid, vitamin C cannot be synthesized within the body. It possesses antioxidant properties and plays a major role in maintaining adequate immunity. It is found in fruit, especially citrus fruit. Vegetables such as peppers and lettuce also contain high amounts of vitamin C, although they do not taste sour. For periodontium, vitamin C plays a major role in maintaining the integrity of collagen fibers. There is no toxicity in case of vitamin C overdose, as the excess is always eliminated at the renal level. On the other hand, ascorbic acid deficiency leads to oedema and increases the risk of bleeding at the slightest trauma or even spontaneously.
Found mainly in cereals and vegetable oils, it acts as an antioxidant. At periodontal level, vitamin E deficiency leads to worsening of pre-existing periodontal disease, because proper healing is no longer possible.
For the health of both the periodontium and the whole body, vitamins are indispensable. Whether they modulate certain functions or are generally involved in maintaining high immunity, a balanced diet that includes all vitamin groups only brings benefits.
Correct nutritional intake plays a significant role in maintaining periodontal health. By adopting a balanced diet rich in macro and micro nutrients, you can support the health of periodontal tissues and reduce the risk of developing periodontal disease. It is important to pay attention to proper oral hygiene.