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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.

Vegetarian - a person who does not eat or does not believe in eating meat, fish, chicken. Vegan- no food  derived from animals, such as eggs or cheese, but instead eatsCosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDS vegetables, fruits, nuts, grain, etc.

Many people in society today have chosen to go Vegetarian for many reasons. One of the main reasons people choose this lifestyle is to live healthier. Most well balanced vegetarians have excellent oral health, but while a vegetarian diet has great health benefits it can adversely affect your oral health if not watched carefully. The vegetarian diet eliminates certain food groups which can cause the loss of certain nutrients essential for oral health.

Some Vegetarians experience deficiencies in calcium, fiber, and Vitamin D putting them at increased risk for periodontal disease. If you choose to forgo animal based food it is imperative that you find food alternatives and supplement options that can help you maintain not only your dental health but also your overall health.

Cause For Dental Concern Among Vegetarians

Many who enter into the vegetarian lifestyle go into it full of knowledge regarding dietary options by consuming vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes to get the vitamins and nutrients they need on a daily basis.  Studies have shown though that an adult eating a vegetarian diet for an extended period of time can be at an increased risk for a lack of vitamin D and calcium. Generally, we get lax over time and may not be as good at maintaining a well balanced diet to include everything we need.

A deficiency of vitamin D and calcium can cause teeth to weaken over time, which makes them more susceptible to tooth decay and periodontal disease. However, vitamin D is produced naturally in the body with normal sun exposure, so deficiencies are quite rare. Deficiencies in calcium are much more common but can be easily remedied with the proper diet and supplements. Studies have shown that people who consume less than the recommended daily amount of calcium are almost twice as likely to have periodontal disease.

Dairy products (milk, cheese and yogurt) are the best sources of calcium. Certain products are also fortified with calcium like soy milk, breakfast cereals, and orange juice. However, for vegans, there are several other types of non-dairy sources of calcium that you can choose to ensure your daily calcium intake. Bean products, such as tofu, as well as sesame seeds, nuts, dried fruit, and green leafy vegetables particularly okra and curly kale are excellent choices and today, certain products like soy milk , bottled water, breakfast cereals and orange juice are also fortified with extra calcium.

Vegetarina Dental Concerns Marielaina Perrone DDS

The potential for nutritional deficiencies is greatest among children and teenagers who decide to become vegetarians. This is because they generally do not know enough about their nutritional needs. Also, some vegetarians are at risk for nutritional deficiencies in vitamin B2 and vitamin B12 as well as calcium and vitamin D.

Dental Health Advantages of Vegetarian Choices

Fresh fruits and vegetable can provide increased saliva production which in turn neutralizes acids. Fresh fruits and vegetables do not contain carbohydrates that can be readily fermented by bacteria, the fiber content actually helps clean the teeth, therefore protecting against dental caries. The best choices to supplement fiber are low acid beans and legumes or whole grain products.

Supplement Options For Vegetarians

There are countless supplement options on the market today to achieve proper nutritional intake of vitamins and minerals. Some of these supplements also offer some dental benefit. These include:

-Coenzyme Q10. Studies have shown it promotes gum healing and cell growth.
-Lysine. Known to have some effectiveness in combating canker sores.
-Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids. Promotes healing, especially of gingival tissue that is inflamed and bleeding from periodontal disease.
-Calcium and Magnesium. Believed to help prevent bone loss around the teeth.
-Vitamins A and E. Are needed for healing gingival tissue.
-Grape Seed Extract. Is known as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
-Zinc plus Copper. Enhances immune function.
-Aloe Vera Gel. Relieves inflamed gums and soothes the tissues when applied directly to the inflamed area of tissue.
-Chamomile Tea. Soothing to gingival tissues.
-Green Tea. Is helpful in decay prevention and decreases plaque.
-Echinacea. Keeps inflammation down and enhances immune function.

Conclusion

Remember that anyone considering adopting a vegetarian lifestyle should seek  out information  from books, their physician, or a nutritionist to learn about substitutes to ensure maintenance of a well balanced diet. This should not just be jumped into without proper knowledge and preparation. Patients should also inform their physicians or dentist as part of their medical history if they are vegetarian.

A healthy well balanced diet and maintaining a good dental hygiene regimen are the best defense against problems with your gums and teeth. Eating a balanced variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes will help vegetarians (and anyone for that matter) achieve a healthy, well balanced diet and a healthy smile. As always see your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings.