For many years, people’s diets have been shown to have an impact in a range of chronic inflammatory diseases, but in recent years there has been an increasing body of research about the role of nutrition in periodontal diseases.
Periodontitis is initiated by an inflammatory response to dental plaque. However, plaque alone is insufficient to cause periodontitis. Genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors such as exercise, smoking, and nutrition also may tip the balance from health to disease.
A key driver of chronic inflammation, oxidative stress has a central role in the origins of a variety of chronic inflammatory diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome. It has been proposed as a common link between periodontitis and systemic disease.
Oxidative stress also can damage tissues by altering molecules such as proteins, lipids, and DNA. Increased oxidative stress triggers a wide range of damaging cellular and molecular events.
Control of dietary sugar and fat intake can help reduce levels of oxidative stress and inflammation. Research has shown the importance of amounts of simple sugars, carbohydrates, and fat intake entering the bloodstream, but it indicates that frequency of intake is also a key factor generating oxidative stress. The more frequent the intake, the greater the inflammation recorded in the blood vessels.
Foods rich in antioxidants which may help reduce oxidative stress: green, leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach, berries, red beans, red wine, and dark chocolate with greater than 70% cocoa.
Overall, consumers should increase their intake of fish oils, nuts, fruits, and vegetables and reduce levels of refined sugars as part of a periodontal prevention/treatment regime.
A healthy diet has shown to benefit periodontal health as well as general health.