Oral Health

 

  • The importance of oral health is often overlooked.  Manifestation of disorders such as periodontitis and oral lichen planus can become debilitating and inhibit normal eating habits.   The vicious cycle that ensues can hinder the absorption of the nutrients that may help to redress the balance. 
  • Periodontitis is the progression of gingivitis.   Inflammation from the gums spreads to the supporting tissue and bone around the tooth socket causing weakness that loosens the teeth.  In addition to regular dental health checks and cleaning of teeth, specific foods and nutrients can help to prevent and repair damage to dental tissues.
  • Oral Lichen planus is a disorder with a largely unknown cause and appears in several forms. Factors that are thought to contribute to the onset of lichen planus include hepatitis C infection, herpesvirus-6, human papilloma virus and candida albicans.  It is a possibility that these disorders may weaken the immune response leading to the manifestation of lichen planus, apart from candida, which may proliferate in response to a weakened immune system and may be found in addition to other factors.   A further consideration is a possible allergy to dental materials and metals such as mercury. 
  • Vitamin C levels are reduced in individuals with periodontitis (1).  This may lead to colonization of the bacterial species P. gingivalis and delayed healing ability.   Food sources of vitamin C include red peppers, pineapple, kiwi, strawberries, broccoli, blackcurrants, papaya, guava, kale, parsley and watercress.    Vitamin C promotes collagen synthesis and enhances detoxification.  
  • Magnesium is required for more than 300 reactions in the body exerting its effects on calcium balance, cardiovascular function, muscle control and blood sugar regulation.  Magnesium deficiency may be a contributing factor in periodontitis.  Supplementation used for patients with periodontal disease reduced tooth loss and improved dental health (2).   Food sources of magnesium include flax seed (ground preferably), mung beans, Brazil nuts, almond butter, broad beans, shiitake mushrooms, sea vegetables and fish.  
  • B vitamins are important co-factors in metabolic reactions for energy production, nerve, digestive and muscle functions.    Deficiencies in folic acid, vitamin B12 and  B6 have been found in patients with oral lichen planus and periodontal disease (5,6).  B vitamins are found in whole grains, cereals, nuts, brewers’ yeast, green leafy vegetables and fish.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids are shown to exert anti-inflammatory effects and help to reduce bone loss (3).   Omega 3 fatty acids are found in fish, such as salmon, trout, herring, mackerel and sardines.   Other good sources include flax seed, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, walnuts and almonds.
  • The incidence of periodontal disease may be linked to vitamin D deficiency.  Vitamin D is required for  calcium balance, immune function and bone metabolism.   Supplementation may reduce bone loss (4)
  • Oral probiotics may help to restore the normal bacterial populations in the oral cavity. Bacterial species such as lactobacillus salivarius and bacillus subtilis may help to reduce numbers of pathogenic microbes and improve dental health (7,8).  These are available as chewable tablets or capsules.
  • Carotenoids fight free radicals and improve immune function. Lycopene found in tomatoes, watermelon, guava and apricots reduces inflammation and reduces tooth loss (9).   Carotenoids may have a protective effect on other nutrients such as vitamins A and C.
  • Turmeric exerts anti-inflammatory effects and may have a therapeutic role in periodontal disease.  Turmeric also has anti-microbial, antiseptic and antioxidant properties.  Turmeric has been found to be an anti-plaque agent and reduce numbers of microbes associated with periodontal disease (10)

References:

  • 1.  Pussinen.P., Laatikainen. T., Alfthan.G., Asikainen.S., and Jousilahti (2003) Periodontitis Is Associated with a Low Concentration of Vitamin C in Plasma. Clin. Diagn. Lab. Immunol. 10(5): 897–902.
  • 2. Meisel P, Schwahn C, Luedemann J, John U, Kroemer HK and Kocher T.(2005)   Magnesium deficiency is associated with periodontal disease.   Journal Dent Res.  84(10):937-41.  Pubmed
  • 3. Kesavalu. L., Bakthavatchalu. V., Rahman.M., Su.J., Raghu. B., Dawson.D.,  Fernandes.G.,  Ebersole.J (2007)   Omega-3 fatty acid regulates inflammatory cytokine/mediator messenger RNA expression in Porphyromonas gingivalis-induced experimental periodontal disease Oral Microbiology and Immunology  22,( 4): 232–239
  • 4.Grant. W. B. and Boucher. B. J. (2010) Are Hill's criteria for causality satisfied for vitamin D and periodontal disease?  Dermato-endocrinology 2 (1): 30-36
  • 5. Thongprasom.K, Youngnak.P., and Aneksuk.V. (2001) Folate and vitamin B12 levels in patients with oral lichen planus, stomatitis or glossitis.  Southeast Asian Journal Trop Med 32 (3): 643-647
  • 6. Sheetal. A., Hiremath.V.K., Patil. A.G., Sajjansetty. S., and Kumar. S (2013) Malnutrition and its oral outcome.  Journal of clinical and diagnostic research 7 (1): 178-180
  • 7. Tsubura. S, Mizunuma. H, Ishikawa. S, Oyake. I, Okabayashi. M, Katoh. K, Shibata. M, Iizuka. T, Toda. T and Iizuka. T (2009)  The effect of Bacillus subtilis mouth rinsing in patients with periodontitis. E ur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis; 28(11):1353-6.
  • 8. Shimauchi. H., Mayanag.i G., Nakaya. S., Minamibuch.i M., Ito. Y., Yamaki. K., and Hirata. H. (2008) Improvement of periodontal condition by probiotics with Lactobacillus salivarius WB21: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.  J Clin Periodontol. 35(10):897-905.
  • 9.Chandra. R.V., Sandhya. Y.P., Nagarajan. S., Reddy. B.H., Naveen. A. and  Murthy. K.R (2012) Efficacy of lycopene as a locally delivered gel in the treatment of chronic periodontitis: smokers vs nonsmokers. Quintessence Int  43(5):401-11.
  • 10. Behal.R., Mali. A. M., Gilda. S. S., and Paradkar. A. R. (2011) Evaluation of local drug-delivery system containing 2% whole turmeric gel used as an adjunct to scaling and root planing in chronic periodontitis: A clinical and microbiological study.  J Indian Soc Periodontol.   15(1): 35–38.

 

Celestial Health.  Alison Hampton BSc, Nut Med, DIridol, memBANT, CNHC, RSM.  Email celestialhealth@hotmail.com. Tel: 07818 073939