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Periodontal disease has long been known to be caused by the toxic waste production by oral bacteria. The body’s response to this production is through the inflammatory process which can lead to destruction of connective tissues as well as deterioration of the bone that supports the teeth. Periodontal disease is progressive and can eventually lead to complete tooth loss and serious infections. Can Vitamin D supplements help?

Stages Of Periodontal Disease

-Gingivitis – This is the earliest stage of periodontal disease. This is the most mild form of periodontal disease. Symptoms include red, swollen (or puffy) and inflamed gums due to plaque-bacteria build-up. The gums may also bleed easily during brushing or eating of hard foods. During the earliest of stages the periodontal disease process it can be reversed thru proper brushing, flossing and professional dental care to remove the excess bacterial plaque. If the required oral hygiene does not occur, the periodontal disease then progresses  to the next stage. The majority of people with this early form of periodontal disease, do not even know a dental problem exists. This is a crucial period for the patient, as the condition can be reversed (since the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place have not yet been affected) at this point if it is recognized and properly treated.

-Periodontitis - As the periodontal disease progresses it will become harder to treat and control. The difference between gingivitis and periodontitis is that gingivitis only infects the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth while the periodontal disease process also invades the bone that provides support and stability for the teeth. The bacteria eventually invades past the initial the gum line area and destruction begins to the point that gums may begin to separate or pull away from the teeth (taking away support and connective fibers with it). What results are called periodontal pockets. These pockets allow for bacteria to invade below the gum line.  They eventually become loaded with toxic plaque and bacteria that moves and works its way deeper. It begins to erode the bone below the gum line. A patient’s bite will be affected (as the teeth shift or loosen) by the lost support which then affects chewing and other functions.

-Advanced Periodontitis - As the periodontal disease process advances, the fibers and bone that provide support for the teeth is destroyed. At least half of the bone support (if not more) will have broken down at this late stage of periodontal disease. It does not grow back naturally. Teeth may begin to loosen. Deep root cleanings and surgical intervention are typical at this stage. This may include cleaning with a periodontal microscope, (Perioscope), grafting of tissue, bone, placement of growth factors, (Emdogain), periodontal antibiotic regimen (Periostat), placement of antibiotics directly into pockets, (Arestin), open flap surgery, and, possibly tooth removal.

Vitamin D Research And Periodontal Disease

A well balanced diet can enhance your immune system to allow the body to fend off any attack more efficiently. Recent research shows Vitamin D might be helpful in controlling the inflammation associated with gingivitis and even periodontitis.

The research consisted of following 88 patients in a random trial. These patients were followed over a 3 month and were broken into 4 groups. Each group received a different dose of Vitamin D. They received either 2,000 IU/day, 1,000 IU/day, 500 IU/day, or a placebo containing 0Vitamin D. Every 30 days the subjects were seen for a blood draw to determine Vitamin D levels and a gingival index.

The blood levels were as expected with elevations based on dosage. However, the patients receiving the higher dose of Vitamin D showed less gingival inflammation than the others. This leads researchers to believe that Vitamin D will have an effect on controlling periodontal disease.

Conclusion

While the study was quite limited and short term, it does lead us to believe that long term use of Vitamin D can help control periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can be controlled and this may lead to another tool for the patient and dentist to control the progression of the disease. As always, remember to see your dentist regularly for examinations and professional cleanings. Maintaing good oral health is important for your whole body and not just your teeth and gums.

Maintaining strong bones and teeth is something we all need to do over the course of our lives. Most people think that all that requires is consuming more milk. That is

Nutrition Marielaina Perrone DDS

Eat Right For A Healthy Body and Teeth!

simply not the case as many different nutrients and vitamins are needed to maintain bones and teeth. Luckily, most of those nutrients can be found in common everyday foods.

Vitamins Needed For Healthy Teeth

-Calcium – This is the one we all know we need. But did you know that calcium also aids in blood clotting, transmission of nerve impulses, as well as the regulation of your heart’s rhythm. Calcium is an essential nutrient your body needs and if it does not get enough of it, your body will pull it from your bones. Calcium comes from many sources. These include dairy products (milk and cheese), dark leafy greens and even dried beans. Adults up to age 50 should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium and adults over 50 should get 1,200 milligrams of calcium

-Vitamin D – Vitamin D and calcium are partners in building strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D is needed to help your body absorb calcium. Unfortunately, vitamin D is not easily found in everyday foods. You can get your daily intake of vitamin D from fortified foods, spending a few minutes in the sun each day, or from supplements.

-Vitamin C - Your bones, teeth and the connective tissues surrounding each tooth all contain large amounts of collagen, a type of protein. Getting enough vitamin C helps your body produce collagen and helps to ensure that you can maintain the health of collagen-rich tissues. Vitamin C deficiencies weaken your bones and teeth, and people with severe vitamin C deficiency often experience tooth loss. Most fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C, so include fresh or frozen produce in every meal to fight vitamin C deficiency.

-Vitamin A - Vitamin A is important for bone growth, cell reproduction and repair. The most common sources for vitamin A are animal products, dairy, and colorful fruits and vegetables.

-Vitamin E - Recent studies have found that individuals with periodontal disease have low levels of vitamin E in their gum tissue. The link between vitamin E and periodontal disease is still not completely understood, but eating foods rich in vitamin E helps increase your overall levels of this vitamin and might help maintain healthy Nutrition Marielaina Perrone DDSbones and teeth. Eat almonds, avocado and olive and canola oils as sources of vitamin E.

Excellent Sources of Food For Bone Health

-Yogurt - Most people get their vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, but certain foods, like yogurt, are fortified with vitamin D. One cup of yogurt can be a creamy way to get your daily calcium. Stonyfield Farms makes a fat-free plain yogurt that contains 30% of your calcium and 20% of your vitamin D for the day. And though we love the protein-packed Greek yogurts, these varieties tend to contain less calcium and little, if any, vitamin D.

-Milk - There’s a reason milk is the poster child for calcium. Eight ounces of fat-free milk will cost you 90 calories, but provide you with 30% of your daily dose of calcium. Choose a brand fortified with vitamin D to get double the benefits.

-Cheese – Just because cheese is full of calcium doesn’t mean you need to eat it in excess (packing on the pounds won’t help your joints!). Just 1.5 ounces (think a set of dice) of cheddar cheese contains more than 30% of your daily value of calcium, so enjoy in moderation. Most cheeses contain a small amount of vitamin D, but not enough to put a large dent in your daily needs.

-Sardines – These tiny fish, often found in cans, have surprisingly high levels of both vitamin D and calcium. Though they may look a bit odd, they have a savory taste that can be delicious in pastas, salads, and even as topping on pizza.

-Eggs - Though eggs only contain 6% of your daily vitamin D, they’re a quick and easy way to get it. Just don’t opt for egg whites—they may cut calories, but the vitamin D is in the yolk.

-Salmon - Salmon is known for having plenty of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but a 3-ounce piece of sockeye salmon contains more than 100% of your vitamin D. So eat up for your heart and your bones.

-Spinach - One cup of cooked spinach contains almost 25% of your daily calcium, plus fiber, iron, and vitamin A.

-Fortified Cereal - Certain cereals—like Kashi U Black Currants and Walnuts, Total Whole Grain, and Wheaties—contain up to 25% of your daily vitamin D. When you do notNutrition Marielaina Perrone DDS have time to cook salmon or get out in the sun, cereals can be a tasty way to get your vitamin D.

-Tuna - Tuna, another fatty fish, is a good source of vitamin D. Three ounces of canned tuna contains 154 IU, or about 39% of your daily dose of the sunshine vitamin.

-Collared Greens - Like spinach, this leafy green often enjoyed south of the Mason-Dixon line is full of calcium. One cup of cooked collards contains more than 25% of your daily calcium.

-Orange Juice - A glass of orange juice does not have calcium or vitamin D, but it is often fortified to contain these nutrients. Try Tropicana’s Calcium + Vitamin D to get a boost of these essentials.  Also, studies have shown that the ascorbic acid in OJ may help with calcium absorption, so you may be more likely to get the benefits of this fortified drink.

Conclusion

Maintaining healthy bones and teeth requires attention to what we eat. It is never too early to start as studies have shown that women who maintain proper nutrition levels at earlier ages have less bone density issues as they age. As always see your dentist regularly for dental examinations, oral cancer screenings, and professional cleanings to keep your teeth their healthiest.