How important is a healthy diet to your gum health?

We’ve known for a while that gum disease is linked to other health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. However there is now increasing evidence that our day to day eating and lifestyle habits have a direct effect on our oral health and in particular our gums.

We are all hearing how refined sugars are bad for our health (’empty’ calories with no nutritional benefit) and we know sugars cause dental decay, but are you aware that excess sugar is more quickly laid down as fat than fat itself and so out of two people eating the same number of calories, the one with the highest sugar content in their diet is likely to be fatter! Sugar is also addictive leading to peaks and troughs in energy levels, and because it’s ’empty calories’ with no nutritional value any excess is quickly laid down as fat. Of two people consuming the same number of daily calories the one with the higher proportion of sugar will be fatter – look out for those hidden sugars!

If you want to keep your gums in tip top condition then as well as removing all the plaque and coming to our hygienist regularly, do have a look at your diet to check it contains a good balance of vitamins and minerals in sufficient quantity, especially:

  • Water! It has become very fashionable to drink sugary and fizzy drinks but drinking plenty of good old “Adam’s ale” is the best thing you can do to help your general well being and that of your gums.
  • Vitamin C – found in some surprising places like peppers, cauliflower and broccoli and these won’t cause the acid erosion of fruit juices.
  • Vitamin B – lack of this can cause ulcers, burning mouth, and angular cheilitis (sore areas at the corners of the mouth). Eat more green vegetables and nuts/grains
  • Vitamin D and Calcium – these affect bone density, and you need Vitamin D to improve calcium absorption! Eat oily fish or take supplements if you are a vegetarian. There are also plenty of dairy free sources of Calcium including oranges and figs!

All in all the more we learn about gum disease the more we are realising that keeping your mouth healthy is not an added bonus to your wellbeing, it is essential! At your next visit with Stephanie Carter our therapist she can tell you more, or email her for more information about our holistic approach to your health.