Polyphenols fight periodontal disease
The 35th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research held in Orlando, Florida this year was the site of a presentation on March 10 by researchers from Laval University in Quebec on the finding that polyphenols, which are antioxidant compounds found in red wine, grape seeds, cranberries and other plant foods, can help prevent and treat periodontitis. Periodontitis is an infectious, inflammatory disease of the gums and bone surrounding the teeth that can lead to loose teeth and tooth loss. Approximately 65 percent of adults over the age of 50 are affected by the disease.
Laval researchers V. Houde, D. Grenier and S. Chandad investigated the effect of polyphenols, including some from red wine, on scavenging free radicals generated by immune cells stimulated with lipopolysaccharides from the bacteria that cause periodontal disease. These free radicals, along with nitric oxide, may be involved in tissue and bone destruction.
They found that macrophages treated with bacterial lipopolysaccharides generated a significant amount of nitric oxide and free radicals compared to untreated cells. Pretreatment with polyphenols from grape seed extract reduced nitric oxide by 60 percent and free radicals by 40 percent. Treatment with the polyphenol epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG, which is abundant in green tea) inhibited nitric oxide by 37% and free radicals by 44%.
Doctors Grenier and Chandad collaborated with C. Bodet on another study published in the March, 2006 issue of the Journal of Dental Research which found that cranberry constituents helped inhibit the inflammatory response induced by periodontal disease bacteria.
In their abstract summarizing the current study, the authors conclude, “ Our findings demonstrate that red wine polyphenols have potent antioxidant properties, supporting the hypothesis of beneficial effects of red wine in oxidative stress mediated by periodontogenic bacteria.”
Periodontal diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are inflammatory diseases that affect the supporting structures that anchor the teeth in place (periodontium). Gingivitis and periodontitis are related conditions: if left untreated, gingivitis, or inflammation of the gingival tissue (gums), can progress to periodontitis, a more serious condition. Gingivitis is a treatable and reversible condition, while periodontitis is an irreversible condition that can lead to tooth loss.
Avoid behaviors that contribute to gum disease and tooth decay, especially tobacco use and consumption of refined sugar. Instead, focus on consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables that provide important phytochemicals and nutrients. In addition, patients with gum disease and existing heart disease should monitor their levels of inflammation. C-reactive protein and homocysteine are both indicators of inflammation, which can be determined by blood tests. For more information on comprehensive blood testing, call 1-800-544-4440.
A mouthwash containing tea tree oil, peppermint, eucalyptus, and other soothing nutrients may also be helpful. A mouth spray called MistOral III ™ contains CoQ10, vitamin E, camu-camu, peelu, vitamin K1, gotu kola extract, propolis extract, and other herbal ingredients. The recommended daily usage is to spray this along the gum lines and swish it through the mouth and teeth several times.
In addition, a number of nutrients have been shown to improve oral health, including:
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