When it comes to healthy teeth and the healthy gums that go along with them, we are taught from an early age that two visits a year to the dentist should be the basis of our self-dental care. Regular checkups and cleanings can go a long way to ward off periodontal disease, but they can only do so much. The rest is up to the individual.
The proper care of our teeth must be a daily exercise on a variety of levels, not only in our food choices (go easy on the sugar!) but also in regular brushing and flossing to keep the spaces between our teeth and our gumlines free of destructive bacteria and thus the buildup of plaque.
That might not be enough, though. About 90 percent of the population experiences gingivitis – inflammation of the gums caused by the buildup of plaque – to one degree or another. Bleeding gums, such as what occurs when brushing your teeth or flossing, is a sign of at least the early stages of gingivitis.
Gingivitis is a condition not to be taken lightly, and it is an unforgiving menace inside our mouth. Left unchecked, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, a chronic inflammatory disease that has been linked to the destruction of teeth and their supporting tissues.
Taking care of our teeth is an everyday endeavor, and taking days off is a recipe for eventual disaster. A daily diet robust in fruits and vegetables is an important aspect of that daily battle. Your teeth and gums need and deserve the same kind of immune support that helps protect your body against other types of infections and viruses. Most of those recommended foods are loaded with antioxidants that prevent cell oxidation and reduce the risks that otherwise are inherent with disease and aging.
Older patients typically are more mature and responsible when it comes to their oral health and hygiene, but they are up against the realization that periodontal disease is more prevalent in those over 60 than it is for twenty- and thirty-somethings. That’s where the extra boost provided by the right supplements can help stave off the cumulative effects of plaque that is a precursor to gingivitis. Along those lines, natural remedies such as nutritional supplements can play a pivotal role in protecting your gums. Face it, some of us are willing to use all the help we can get.
6 Supplements that Can Boost Gum Health
Following are six supplements that have been identified as supportive of gum health and as a deterrent against gingivitis:
Grape seed extract: This powerful antioxidant is reportedly dozens of times more potent than vitamins E and C. It has shown itself to be effective in dealing with a number of health-related areas, to include arthritis, skin issues, and inflammation. One of its characteristics pertinent to periodontal health is its knack for preventing the buildup of bacteria colonies, such as those associated with plaque buildup around teeth and gums.
Folic acid (a B vitamin): It has been shown to assist in the normal development of gum tissue and can neutralize endotoxins, which are bacterial byproducts that can damage gums.
Calcium: Often found in foods such as dairy products and canned bony fish (e.g., salmon and sardines), calcium is a nutrient well-known for strengthening bones and the enamel of teeth, helping to protect against the formation of cavities.
Curcumin: This chief compound of turmeric is known for its potency and hitting the trifecta of being an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-bacterial, which allows it to put a triple whammy on bacteria associated with periodontal disease. By inhibiting the growth of harmful bacterial, it is an agent that can alleviate gum bleeding and inflammation.
Omega-3s: A review conducted in 2020 of six studies provided evidence that people taking fish oil supplements, or Omega-3s, showed measurable improvement in several areas associated with periodontal disease, to include reduction of plaque levels and the depth of pockets or space between teeth and their gum attachment (aka probing depth).
Vitamin C: Vitamin C pops up on many lists for a variety of health benefits, and its role in helping teeth and gums is right there among those benefits. Essentially, vitamin C’s presence helps to reinforce gums protecting them becoming bruised and bleeding.
Using these six supplements described above – as well as others such as probiotics, vitamin D and zinc – can go a long way when combined with brushing, flossing, and two trips a year to the dentist to protect your gums and teeth, and keep them healthy well into your senior years. Be sure to discuss these nutrients with your dentist as well for additional guidance on how they can benefit you.