Periodontal Disease & Diet?

The photo above shows what moderate periodontal disease looks like: bleeding, inflammation and recession of the gums plus pockets of pus forming around the roots of the teeth. Not only does it look bad, it causes extremely bad breath, shifting of teeth and even tooth loss! The infection and inflammation of periodontal disease can affect your whole body.

What are some ways to prevent it?

The tried and true ways have been daily brushing and flossing plus frequent professional cleanings. Of course, if you smoke, you must stop.

Once you have exposed roots, your dentist or hygienist will need to scrape the hardened calculus off.  In more severe cases, the patient will be referred to a periodontist for surgery.

The infection and inflammation of periodontal disease can affect your whole body. In fact, periodontal disease has now been linked to coronary artery disease.

But how?

Does the infection in your mouth lead to heart disease?

Does the plaque buildup in your arteries lead to periodontal disease?

Research has shown that people with periodontal disease also have plaque buildup in their arteries. Studies have linked high cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol with both heart disease and periodontal disease.

Other studies have shown an association between chronic periodontitis and erectile dysfunction in men. Of course, erectile dysfunction is caused by plaque in your arteries and can be reversed with a plant-based diet.

One study titled, “High Fiber Foods Reduce Periodontal Disease Progression in Men Aged 65 and Older” shows that eating the same plant foods, which slow the progression of heart disease will also slow the progression of periodontal disease.

A study published in the Journal of Dental Research indicates that saturated fatty acid may actually contribute to periodontal disease.  Saturated fatty acid (SFA) is typically found in butter, milk, meat fats and oils and can cause inflammation.

Multiple studies have found that people with coronary artery disease and diabetes have a higher rate of gum disease. The common denominator seems to be a person’s diet. All tissues in the body must receive nutrients through the blood vessels. If the blood vessels are stiff and filled with plaque, the circulation to all parts of the body is compromised, which causes health problems from head to toe. The same poor eating habits that sicken people with heart disease and diabetes also result in poor oral health.

To find out whether you have risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and periodontal disease, get a blood test to check your total cholesterol and your LDL cholesterol. If they are high, change your diet.

And, in the meantime, don’t forget to visit your dental hygienist regularly.

Soup for Your Gingivitis?

Tyler, Texas Dentist, Rick Coker, Treats Gingivitis

Soup for GingivitisGingivitis has been in the news quite a bit lately because of it’s reputed link to heart disease.

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gum tissue around your teeth. You may notice that your gums are a little tender, maybe they bleed when you brush or floss or they look swollen.

If you’ve ever gotten a splinter, your body sends resources to begin the healing process. At first you may notice swelling or tenderness, but if the splinter has been removed, it continues to heal.

However, if you were unable to get the splinter out, the body has to work much harder and will continue with the inflammation process much longer. You will probably need to go to your physician to actually remove the splinter before your body will heal itself properly.

Because you eat and drink on a continuous basis and you sometimes don’t brush and floss your teeth, your gums may get a “splinter” that your body tries to heal. If the splinter is large enough or left to fester for too long, your gums continue to stay inflamed which then can turn into periodontal disease and possible tooth loss. The other problem is when your body is hosting a continuous infection and inflammation in the gums, it can become systemic, i.e., it can go directly from the gums into your body and even take the infection straight to your heart. That’s one of the dangers of gingivitis and periodontal disease.

What do you need to do?

First, see your dental hygienist for a diagnosis and a thorough, professional cleaning. The gold standard for the treatment of gingivitis is the use of a mouthwash containing chlorhexidine. Because shiitake and other medicinal mushrooms have long been known as effective immune system boosters, they were recently used in a study of gingivitis treatment comparing them with the chlorhexidine.

The study was published in the September 2011 issue of the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology. A comparison of two treatments for gingivitis was studied. The first consisted of a mouthwash containing chlorhexidine and the second was a shiitake mushroom extract. The results indicated that the shiitake mushroom extract lowered the number of pathogenic bacteria just like the chlorhexidine, but unlike the chlorhexidine, did not kill the beneficial bacteria in the mouth.

Therefore, it might be wise to add some shiitake mushrooms to your diet along with regular flossing, brushing and professional dental cleanings to help you keep any possible gingivitis pathogens at bay.

To help you do that, here is a delicious recipe for Mushroom and Onion Soup from Melinda Coker’s cookbook for health, Coco’s Healthy Cooking (available on Amazon).

INGREDIENTS – BROTH:
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cups vegetable broth
½ inch fresh peeled ginger, sliced
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3 star anise
6 whole medium shiitake mushrooms
½ teaspoon dried fennel seeds
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses (unsulphured)

INGREDIENTS – SOUP:
2 onions, cut in half and sliced very thin
6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper

DIRECTIONS:
• Prepare the 3 onions (chop one and slice two) and let them sit for 5 minutes.

• Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable broth in medium soup pot. Slowly sauté chopped onions for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent.

• Add the rest of the broth, ginger, cloves, cinnamon stick, star anise, mushrooms, fennel seeds, soy sauce, and molasses and stir.

• Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.

• In a separate medium sized stainless steel skillet, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable broth and slowly sauté the sliced onions about 5 minutes, stirring frequently until translucent.

• Add garlic slices and sauté another minute. Remove from heat.

• Go back to the broth and strain it. Return the strained portion to the pan. Take out the mushrooms, slice them and return to broth. Take out the star anise and set aside to add as a garnish to the soup. Discard the rest of the strained ingredients.

• Add salt and pepper along with the sautéed onions and garlic.

• Heat briefly and serve.

• Serves 2-4.