Can an anti-inflammatory diet improve your gum health?

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Switching to a diet focused on reducing inflammation may help those with gum disease, according to a study.

Participants who reduced carbohydrates intake and increased omega-3 fatty acids consumption showed a significant improvement in periodontal health.

Since diet has been proved to help reduce inflammation, German researchers were curious how an anti-inflammatory diet would affect periodontal — or gum — health.

Their pilot study, published in BMC Oral Health, proved that similar diet-based studies for oral health are plausible.

‘Examining the literature, several dietary recommendations for benefiting the health of periodontal tissues can be found, such as a reduction in carbohydrates, and an additional intake of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin D, antioxidants, and fibre,’ the authors wrote.

‘Despite these very promising findings, there is a substantial lack of dietary-interventional studies in controlled randomised settings.’

Because so few randomised, controlled trials evaluating the relationship between an anti-inflammatory diet and periodontal health exist, lead author Dr Johan Wölber and University of Freiburg colleagues wanted to design a pilot study that could be repeated and built upon.

They focused on reducing an excessive intake of carbohydrates, which have been shown to lead to chronic inflammatory disease.

Dr Wölber also advised participants to increase their intake of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins C and D, and antioxidants.

The researchers sought out participants who were at least 18 years old, had gingivitis, and ate a carbohydrate-rich diet.

The findings are an important reminder that a healthy diet is a key part of a successful oral health regimen.

The authors hope future researchers will study individual components of an anti-inflammatory diet to see if certain aspects have a more significant impact on reducing oral inflammation than others.

‘Within the limitations, the presented dietary pattern including a diet low in carbohydrates, but rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins C and D, antioxidants, and fibre significantly reduced periodontal inflammation in humans,’ the authors concluded.

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