Periodontal health is affected by oral hygiene, genetic and epigenetic factors, systemic health, and nutrition. While inadequate nutrition can contribute to poor oral health and lead to gum disease, tooth loss due to advanced periodontal disease will also impact negatively on nutrition with related eating difficulties.
Extensive research studies have concluded that a balanced diet plays an important part in maintaining periodontal health. Nutritional supplements and dietary components have also been shown to improve healing after periodontal surgery.
- Periodontal disease is an oral health condition caused by specific bacteria that form plaque on the teeth and gums causing tooth decay and diseased gum tissue which leads to tooth loss if untreated
- Research highlights that around 40%–90% of the global population is affected by periodontal disease, making it one of the most prevalent epidemics in the world
- Research has proven that dietary sugar is the main contributing factor and cause of tooth decay
- The higher the frequency of sugar consumption, particularly when kept in the mouth for a long time, the higher the risk of tooth decay
- An increase in fluoride intake, coupled with a good oral hygiene regime can modulate the impact of sugar and caries risk but a reduction in overall sugar intake has the most health benefits
- Tooth loss affects chewing ability which impacts nutritional choices, commonly the avoidance of healthy food choices which then affects general health
How Professionals Can Help
- Provide advice on the reduction of daily sugar intake (including sodas and fruit drinks)
- The role of good nutrition in tooth loss prevention should be emphasised to high risk patients at all appointments
- Advice should be given to expecting mothers and new parents on preventing ‘bottle caries’ or baby bottle tooth decay
- Check-ups for children should include careful examination to identify high risk patients, appropriate use of fluorides and advice on tooth brushing and limiting daily sugar intake (particularly sugary drinks)
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
- The Role of Nutrition in Periodontal Health: An Update, Shariq Najeeb et al, Nutrients. 2016 Sep; 8(9): 530.
- Nutrition and health: guidelines for dental practitioners, C Palacios, KJ Joshipura, and WC Willett, Oral Dis. 2009 Sep; 15(6): 369–381.
- The interrelationship between diet and oral health. Moynihan P, Proc Nutr Soc. 2005 Nov;64(4):571-80
- British Society of Periodontology http://www.bsperio.org.uk/publications/index.php