Increasing evidence shows that the state of overall health is directly linked to the health of the oral cavity. Oral hygiene, eating patterns and food choices all play important roles in oral health, including the health of teeth and gum tissue, as well as cavity and disease prevention. Poor oral hygiene raises the risk of cavities, halitosis, gum disease, and tooth and bone loss. Salivary fluid and many mouth surfaces host a vast and highly diverse microcosm of bacteria, some associated with the digestive process, and others with oral health or disease. Heavily influenced by inadequate nutrition, poor oral hygiene, age, illness, medications, hormonal changes and tooth eruption or loss, pathogenic bacteria can cultivate and cause swollen and bleeding gums, and lead to more serious periodontitis.
Periodontitis is defined as a gum infection that damages the soft tissues and destroys the bone that supports the teeth, resulting in tooth loss. Largely preventable, periodontitis generally results from improper brushing and flossing, the failure to have regular dental checkups and tobacco use. Symptoms of unsightly red, swollen, tender, receding, and bleeding gums warrant a visit to a dentist to halt the progression and permanent destruction of connective tissues and bone. The threat of tooth loss from periodontal disease is traumatic on its own. Perhaps even more worrying, science shows that periodontal pathogens can enter the blood stream and contribute to inflammation and other serious health complications, including coronary artery disease, respiratory problems, rheumatoid arthritis, certain cancers, and endocarditis, an infection of the lining of the heart.
As the relative risk of cardiovascular disease may be doubled in people with periodontal disease, investing in your oral health is an investment in your overall health. Nutrition is an integral component of oral health, as diet affects the integrity of the tooth structure, the composition of saliva and pH balance. Science confirms the relationship between a diet high in refined carbohydrates, sugars and starches and the production of plaque acids, that attack tooth enamel. Reducing between meal snacking, cutting back on starchy refined carbs, and avoiding sugary foods and drinks, helps to prevent tooth decay by limiting the time that sugars are available to microorganisms. Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables help to stimulate saliva flow that provides natural cavity defense and helps to neutralize acids that harm the teeth.
To support your oral health, avoid foods that have a high potential for tooth decay, including hard and soft candy, baked goods and dried fruit, as well as foods that have a moderate potential for decay, such as fruit juice and other sugary beverages. If you are going to have juice, soda or desert, its best to have them with a meal and when possible, brush immediately or at least swish with water afterwards. Eat more foods that have low potential for decay, such as raw vegetables, whole fruit, and dairy without added sugars. Foods that have a very low potential for decay include meats, fish, poultry, fats and oils. Certain foods, such as cheese, xylitol and nuts, may have the ability to actually prevent decay.
A well-balanced diet, along with sufficient intake of the following nutrients, vitamins and minerals can support and promote oral and dental health:
Vitamin C and quercetin work synergistically to reduce inflammation, fight against cell damage and build, protect, repair, and maintain gum tissue health. As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C supports immune health and the healing process. Clinical evidence supports the role of vitamin C in preserving periodontal heath.
CoQ10 and its reduced form, ubiquinol, promote tissue health and healing, support energy production and help prevent free radical damage.
Calcium and phosphorus work to build and strengthen bones and teeth and provide structural support for bones. Calcium is stored in bones and circulates in small amounts throughout the blood stream. Sufficient intake of calcium supports bone strength and tooth enamel integrity.
Potassium works with magnesium to help boost bone mineral density and may keep calcium from becoming too acidic, helping to prevent calcium leach from bones.
Vitamin D helps regulate musculoskeletal heath by mediating calcium absorption and mineral homeostasis. Vitamin D insufficiency affects bone mineral density, and increases the risk of infectious and inflammatory chronic diseases. Vitamin D supports oral health by positively affecting bone metabolism, functioning as an anti-inflammatory agent, and stimulating the production of anti-microbial peptides.
Vitamin K2 works synergistically with calcium and vitamin D to help move calcium into bones and teeth, and helps to produce osteocalcin, a key protein used in bone remodeling. Vitamin K2, particularly in MK-7 form, may help to keep chronic inflammation at bay.
Vitamin A promotes saliva production, helping to prevent potential cavity-causing dry mouth, and helps to maintain healthy mucous membranes that coat gum tissues and cheeks.
Interest in probiotics for oral health is steadily growing, as probiotic bacteria appear to beneficially affect both oral microbiota and the immune response. Some studies have found the probiotics may improve overall gingival health by decreasing gingival inflammation and reducing gum bleeding.
Professional Supplement Center carries many high-quality supplements in support of oral and overall health:
Vitamin C with Quercetin by Integrative Therapeutics: This synergistic formula offers the antioxidant support of vitamin C, as well as quercetin, bromelain and citrus bioflavonoids for enhanced effectiveness. Gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, sugar and yeast free, vegetarian formulation.
Vitamin D3 & K2 by Bioclinic Naturals: This product provides clinically effective doses of vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 as MK-7, in support of bone metabolism and immune activity. Gluten, wheat, dairy and yeast free, Non-GMO formulation.
Vitamin A 10,000 IU by Pure Encapsulations: This product provides nutritional support for a wide range of biological processes, including vision, immune defense and healthy maintenance of skin and mucous membranes. Non-GMO formulation.
PerioBiotic™ Spearmint Toothpaste by Designs for Health: This unique toothpaste contains xylitol and calcium, active ingredients shown to promote dental and oral heath, as well as Dental-Lac™, a patent pending functional lactobacillus dental hygiene probiotic. Gluten and fluoride free.
DentaVen™ by Premier Research Labs: This patented probiotic-based formula provides essential support for tooth and gum tissue health with a highly desirable stain of friendly bacteria able to colonize and beneficially reside in the mouth. For adults and children aged 5 and over.
Bacterial Mouth Infections. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1081424-overview
Defining the Normal Bacterial Flora of the Oral Cavity. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1287824/
Oral health: A window to your overall health. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475
Six health problems linked to bad oral hygiene. https://www.dentalhealth.org/blog/blogdetails/96
Sugar and dental caries. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/4/881S.full
Vitamin C and oral health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2676112
Vitamin D and its impact on oral health—an update. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21748977
Probiotics and Oral Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2897872/