The Role of Diet in Maintaining Your Oral Health
As a Denver holistic dentist, our team at the McGinty Dental Group continues to stress the importance of patients taking a holistic view of their oral health. While brushing and flossing play a significant role in helping to determine the long-term health of your teeth and gums, oral hygiene alone isn’t enough to lower your risk for gum disease. Other lifestyle habits, such as how frequently you see a Denver holistic dentist, also help to determine your risk for tooth decay and gum disease, especially when it comes to your diet.
Patients who eat diets with a heavy amount of plant-based foods, while restricting the amount of added sugars and grains they consume, may have a lower risk for developing severe cases of gum disease, or periodontitis, according to a new study.
Patients whose diets drifted away from Mediterranean or DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets were more likely to develop oral health problems, such as gums that bleed more frequently and higher buildup of dental plaque, when compared to those who consumed a more plant-based diet. This is the second study that explores the relationships between individuals who eat Mediterranean and DASH diets and the risk for gum disease.
“A higher adherence to DASH diets as well as to Mediterranean diet was significantly associated with lower odds to present gum disease,” wrote the research team in their findings.
The study was conducted by researchers at University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany and published in the journal Nutrients.
The Value of a Quality Diet
Data collected by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has found that a DASH diet constitutes a balanced eating plan that can reduce high blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels, the keys to lowering heart disease risk. The plan focuses on eating fresh veggies, fruits, and whole grains. It also features low-fat dairy, poultry, and fish while limiting the consumption of saturated fats and sugars.
Studies have also found that the Mediterranean diet, which is based on the way people in Greece, Italy, Lebanon, and other places that border the Mediterranean Sea eat, have shown diet helps to reduce stroke and heart disease risk. These types of diet include high volumes of nuts, seeds, olive oil, whole grains, fruits, and veggies.
Both of these types of diets work to reduce inflammation, which is the primary characteristic of severe gum disease. Studies have found that reducing oxidative stress, along with increasing consumption of antioxidants, can have a positive impact on gum health and in reducing inflammation because it helps to properly reduce the body’s immune response.
To further explore the connection between these types of diets and gum disease, researchers conducted a cohort study that used data collected as part of the Hamburg City Health Study, which aims to better understand how chronic diseases develop in the body. The research team examined data on over 6,200 participants that was collected as part of the study.
The results of the study suggest that following Mediterranean or DASH diets lowers an individual’s risk for developing periodontitis. Approximately 21 percent of study participants who had a low adherence to the DASH diet were more commonly affected by severe gum disease when compared to the 13 percent who strictly followed a DASH diet. Approximately 20 percent of those who loosely followed a Mediterranean diet developed a more severe form of gum disease when compared to those who followed the diet more closely.
For both types of diets, participants who didn’t strictly follow the eating plans developed more bleeding and deep gum pockets – two of the most common signs of severe gum disease – when compared to those who followed either diet. Plaque buildup was also measured higher (10.42) in participants who didn’t follow either diet when compared to those participants who did (3.57).
Your Denver Holistic Dentist Can Help
As further research continues to highlight the connection between our oral and overall health, your Denver holistic dentist will be here to help protect the long-term health of your teeth and gums.
The health of your smile matters. Don’t neglect yours. If you have any questions about how diet can impact the health of your smile, make sure to ask Dr. McGinty during your next appointment.