Oral diseases are common and they can not only affect your appearance but also your health. Your teeth and gums need the right diet to stay healthy and prevent illnesses, including oral diseases. Know the vitamins and supplements to improve gum health and stay healthy.
Dental caries and periodontal disease, which is a chronic inflammatory disease resulting in progressive attachment and alveolar bone loss, are considered the most important oral diseases. It is widespread and affects more than 50% of the adult population, while severe periodontitis affects 11% of adults.1
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease and can be found in up to 90% of the population.2 While gingivitis can be reversed by improving oral hygiene periodontitis occurs when the condition progresses into a chronic, inflammatory destructive state.
Vitamins and Supplements to Improve Gum Health
There is a link between oral health and your diet. Diet and nutrition affect the health of tissues in the mouth and they, in turn, affect the nutrients consumed and absorbed.3 It is known that consumption of excess sugars, acidic food, and beverages can cause carries, increase the risk of erosion, and tooth damage. Studies have shown that vitamins can be an important influencing factor in the progression and healing of oral diseases.4
Let us look at some of the important vitamins and supplements to improve gum health
Vitamins To Improve Gum Health
- Vitamin A – Vitamin A is popular for healthy eyes and skin. But it also helps maintain a healthy amount of saliva production, which can clean away bacteria and food particles stuck in between teeth and gums.5 It can thus prevent dryness, help in quick healing, and help prevent gum disease. A lower intake of vitamin A is linked with decreased oral epithelial development, impaired tooth and enamel development, and periodontitis.6 With its antioxidant properties it is used as a supplement in periodontal treatment.7 It is found in carrots, sweet potatoes, capsicum, broccoli, egg yolks, cod liver oil, liver, and leafy vegetables.
- Vitamin B Complex – Some vitamins like vitamin B2 and B3 can help decrease inflammation, help in the healing of soft tissues and prevent canker sores. The deficiency of vitamin B complex is related to oral conditions like stomatitis, glossitis, and ulceration of the mucosa. Studies have found a possible link between low levels of vitamin B12 are linked with periodontitis.7 Vitamin B complex supplementation can accelerate post-surgical healing. B vitamins are found in whole grains, almonds, legumes, poultry, fish, dairy products, red meat, and spinach.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a popular vitamin known to improve gum health and its supplementation helps prevent and cure scurvy.7 Scurvy presents with inflamed, painful, and bleeding gums, and Vitamin C or ascorbic acid helps in collagen synthesis, which controls bleeding and inflammation. Its supplementation can also improve the outcome of periodontal therapy. Rich sources of vitamin C include peppers, sweet potatoes, broccoli, berries, and kale.
- Vitamin D – It improves the absorption of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphate, and zinc in the intestine, which are important to improve gum health. Some clinical studies found that a deficiency of dietary vitamin D can lead to periodontal inflammation and a delay in post-surgical periodontal healing.7 Deficiency during tooth development can affect the dental formation and gum health. Apart from sunlight, consuming foods like fish eggs, mushrooms, liver, and milk is good.
- Vitamin E – Being an important antioxidant Vitamin E can prevent oral inflammation and help improve gum health. While the exact mechanism is not fully understood, few studies have reported favorable effects of vitamin E in maintaining periodontal health and controlling inflammation.7 Rich sources include nuts, seeds, cereals, poultry, meat, and fish.
- Vitamin K – As vitamin K plays an important role in blood clotting, it can help prevent gum bleeding. It is also responsible for protein synthesis that is required for bone metabolism, also related to oral health.
Supplements To Improve Gum Health
Other nutrients and supplements to improve gum health include minerals, trace elements, and antioxidants
The oral cavity undergoes injury and inflammation due to trauma or disease processes. Antioxidants can help reduce oxidative stress and free radicals due to inflammation, thus preventing cellular damage. While more research is needed in this area, some antioxidants that can help improve gum health include
- CoQ10 – Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant, which is found to be deficient in the gingival tissue of people with periodontitis. Studies have found that when Coenzyme Q10 oral supplements were used as an adjunct to scaling and rootplanning, it showed a significant reduction in gingival inflammation when compared to scaling and rootplaning alone.8
- Lycopene – A red pigment found in tomatoes, carrots, and watermelons can help offers antioxidative effects. Some studies have suggested that lycopene supplementation can play a role in the management of periodontal, thus helping improve gum health.
- Melatonin – Owing to its antioxidant properties, melatonin is considered an essential supplement to improve gum health. Clinical studies also suggest that melatonin may have a positive effect on periodontal health. It is a hormone that the body prepares naturally. Plants and cereals are good sources of melatonin, while supplements are also available.
- Green tea – Green tea is rich in flavonoids and is known for its anti-cancer and antioxidant effects. Some studies suggest that green tea can improve periodontal health by reducing inflammation, preventing bone resorption, and controlling the growth of certain bacteria associated with periodontal diseases.9 It can be considered an important supplement to improve gum health.
- Omega – 3 – fatty acids – Some studies have shown that omega – 3 -fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects and a protective effect on periodontitis.10 Fish oil supplements are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids – docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which can help improve gum health.
- Probiotics – Probiotics are known for their role in combating infectious diseases, hence can prove to be instrumental in periodontal diseases as well. A study has shown that oral administration of probiotics can be a safe and effective adjunct to conventional mechanical treatment like scaling in the management of periodontitis.11 It can help improve disease indices and reduce the need for antibiotics, thus considered essential supplements to improve gum health.
Minerals like calcium and phosphorus are required for the formation of teeth and bones and gum health. Zinc has antioxidant effects and can reduce the severity of diabetes-induced periodontitis.7 Magnesium is needed for cell metabolism and can help periodontal therapy and improve gum health. Iron is mainly required for protein synthesis and its deficiency can cause anemia that presents with pale mucosa, ulceration, and worsening of periodontal disease.
These are the most important vitamins and supplements to improve gum health. These can be consumed in their natural form or taken as supplements.