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As June is Oral Health Month, I’ve been thinking about gum disease and the frightening impact it can have on your life. Thanks to New Image Dentistry in San Antonio for helping me with information about gum disease and nutrition.

Having gum disease means more than suffering from bad breath or having to put up with a little bleeding whenever you brush or floss. Many cases of untreated gum disease lead to tooth loss, meaning you could end up needing dentures or dental implants far earlier than you thought you would. Even worse, though, is the impact it can have on the rest of your body.

Gum disease is an infection that has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s asthma, osteoporosis, and cancer. It’s not completely clear that gum disease directly causes these problems, but I think it goes without saying that when it comes to your health, it is always better to be safe than sorry. 

So how can you protect yourself from gum disease? Having a good dentist can help, obviously, but there’s also your own lifestyle to consider. Eating the right foods can go a long way towards improving your body’s ability to fight back against gum disease. 

You’re probably already well aware that too much sugar is not good for your mouth. When oral bacteria come in contact with sugar, they consume it and turn it into harmful acids that attack the teeth and gums. So when you’re looking for ways to protect your gums, you should look at the sugar content of the foods you eat on a regular basis and cut down where possible. 

Here are some of the nutrients that you’ll need plenty of if you want to prevent or fight back against gum disease:

  • Co-enzyme Q10, an antioxidant that gives the cells energy to function properly and has been associated with a lower risk of gum disease
  • Collagen, which often breaks down as a result of the gums trying to deal with inflammation
  • Vitamin C, which boosts the immune system and makes it easier for your body to deal with the bacteria that cause infections. Vitamin C is also needed to form collagen.
  • Catechins, substances from plants such as tea, cocoa and berries, which actively inhibit harmful bacteria and gum inflammation
  • Beta Carotene, which the body turns into vitamin A, a key anti-inflammatory agent
  • Omega-3s, which are needed for a healthy immune system

The above nutrients can be found in plenty of common foods. Nuts and salmon, for example, both contain high levels of Omega-3s. Grass-fed beef has plenty of collagen, while you can get co-enzyme Q10 from chicken and other muscle meats. Shiitake mushrooms, broccoli, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes are considered good options for maintaining a healthier, happier mouth. 

Of course, nutrition is just one part of a healthy lifestyle. You also need to brush at least twice a day, especially around the area where the teeth meets the gums. Since your toothbrush can’t fit between your teeth very well, you should also start flossing if you don’t do so already. Don’t make my mistake which is brushing too hard and damaging the gums. And if you notice oral bleeding, swelling, or other possible warning signs that you might have a case of gum disease in San Antonio, you should set up a dental appointment as soon as possible.