Gum disease, or periodontitis, has long been shown to have strong negative effects on the entire body. Far from being simply a local issue of pain or damage, the debilitating effects of peridontitis can create life-threatening situations. Systemic treatment through nutrition may be one of the best ways to prevent this type of spreading damage. A recent article featured on Dentistry IQ discusses the importance of this treatment method in detail.
Nutritional screening and long-term nutritional counseling do not traditionally fall within the realm of standard dental practices. With the exception of classical anti-sweets admonishments, nutritional advice is a crucial aspect of proper oral care that has been largely absent from the dental discussion. As more research shows a link between nutrition and periodontitis, this dialogue will continue to grow.
Recent Research Study Findings
Recent studies published in the Journal of the American Dental Association have shown that higher levels of antioxidants are directly related to lower chances for periodontal disease. The British Journal of Nutrition names several antioxidants with dental significance, including:
- Beta carotene
- Alpha tocopherol
- Ascorbic acid
- Minerals such as selenium, manganese, zinc and copper
- Spirulina fusiforms
In addition, The Journal of Clinical Periodontology has concluded that Vitamin D and calcium are also vital aspects of a daily nutrition plan designed to prevent and treat periodontitis.
Antioxidants and Oral Health
The benefits of antioxidants for oral health (and truly for overall health) have been proven with overwhelming authority by hundreds of reliable studies. Antioxidants have been shown to improve health by protecting the body from damage by neutralizing free radicals. These free radicals are dangerous particles that can negatively impact the body through a chemical process called oxidation.
Eating the right types of foods and taking nutritional supplements are two of the best ways to ensure a diet high in antioxidants. As a rule of thumb, colorful fruits and vegetables have the highest levels of these protective nutrients. Some of these common superfoods that may be purchased at your local grocery store include:
- Kidney beans
Antioxidant Testing Easily and Inexpensively with the Biophotonic Scanner
Historically, determining a patient’s nutrition level has been difficult, with mostly oral information and blood sampling available to guide the process. The information gathered is typically vague and very general in scope. The gradually increasing use of a machine called a Biophotonic Scanner may help make this process faster and more scientific.
This scanner is cheaper, faster and more accurate than traditional blood serum testing, and gives results about a patient’s antioxidant levels in less than ninety seconds. This is helpful in establishing a baseline of nutrition to which patients can be compared.
This scanner will likely continue to increase in popularity, as it has recently been featured by Dr. Oz. Hopefully, the surge of interest following that program will continue to propel the scanner and the antioxident-oral health dialogue into the spotlight.