Keeping the teeth you have in your mouth starts with healthy gums. Many Americans’ have gingivitis or periodontitis, which are different stages of gum disease. Our mouths are teeming with bacteria that form plaque on teeth, brushing and flossing is important to clean off the plaque. These bacteria can actually migrate and settle near gums and this causes inflammation, which is why gums sometimes bleed. If you smoke, have diabetes or take medication that reduce saliva you are at a greater risk. (1)
Nutrients important to good gum health (2)(3)
Found in fruits and vegetables, incorporating more food containing vitamin C can help reduce bleeding from your gums.
Folic acid and vitamin B12
B12 is greatest in meat, eggs and dairy. Folic acid is the greatest in green leafy vegetables, lentils, garbanzo beans, and enriched wheat products. These nutrients are involved in creation of the new cells needed for healthy gums, in an observational study people who were deficient in vitamin B12 where at a greater risk for developing gum disease.
Vitamin D and calcium
Vitamin D is mainly found in cold-water fish like salmon and calcium is most abundant in dairy food. Vitamin D deficiency has been related to gum inflammation and when combined with calcium, these two work together to keep teeth strong and sturdy.
A healthful diet that consists of adequate amounts of all micronutrients and limits excess sugar intake when combined with proper brushing and flossing is a sure fire way to reduce your risk of gum disease.
- Hujoel PP, Lingström P. Nutrition, dental caries and periodontal disease: a narrative review. J Clin Periodontol 2017; 44 (Suppl. 18): S79–S84. doi: 10.1111/jcpe.12672.
- Mahan, L. K., & Raymond, J. L. (2017). Krauses food & the nutrition care process. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.