Thursday, July 8, 2010
Vitamins For Dental Health
Gingivitis, a form of periodontal disease, is defined as chronic inflammation of the gums. Infection invades the tissues of the gums, the periodontal ligaments, and even the alveolar bone where the teeth attach. Various dental diseases are thought to be caused by high levels of free radicals produced by plaque and tartar on the teeth, along with bacterial proteinases, and a long list of immune system responses to these problems.
Periodontal disease often starts as simple plaque. Plaque is the sticky substance that we should brush off of our teeth at least twice a day. This is because plaque harbors a lot of bacteria. The bacteria produce toxins, proteins, and free radicals that damage our gums. If plaque is allowed to harden, then it becomes tartar, which must be scraped off by your dental hygienist. Plaque and tartar form damaging oxidants and bacteria that have direct access to our gum tissues.
Inflammation in the gums also leads to increased cytokine production, which helps to thicken, bind, and harden plaque. Cytokines are proinflammatory secretions produced when the immune system senses invaders. It is meant to contain the bacteria, but unfortunately, it simply helps plaque and tartar take hold. Inflammation of the gums can cause a cascade with cytokines and oxidants making periodontal disease very hard to treat.
A strict regimen of brushing with a soft bristled brush, gentle flossing, antibacterial rinsing, and regular periodontal cleanings can help keep periodontal disease at bay. However, the slightest slip-up can cause the cycle to escalate very quickly and you’re going to have problems again. Changes in your diet, antioxidant intake, and vitamins and supplements routine can help you combat the problem from within.
Research has shown that periodontal disease can lead to heart attack, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia, arthritis, and a long list of inflammatory diseases because the gums give dangerous bacteria a free ride into the blood stream. Taking vitamins and supplements to prevent gum damage will also protect you from giving bacteria a way in, protecting you from a lot of other inflammatory health problems.
Your first line of defense is antioxidants that strengthen cell membranes and help them ward off oxidant attacks. If oxidants enter cells, they destroy them. Antioxidants also trap oxidants and flush them from the body. Antioxidants strengthen and calm the immune system, controlling cytokine production, and helping your gums to react to invaders, not overreact. A good amount of antioxidants in your diet and supplement routine will help control inflammation and reduce your chances of periodontal disease recurring.
One of the most proven ways to protect your gums from periodontal disease is to use vitamin C supplements. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It helps to reduce binding agents, protect cells, reduce bacteria, eradicate oxidants, and strengthen the immune system. Some forms of vitamin C supplements can be very acidic and cause tooth decay. Make sure that if you are taking vitamin C supplements for dental health that you use the best vitamin C. Vitamin C powder supplements that are buffered to reduce acidity are recommended by many dental professionals.
Speak with your periodontist or dental professional about which vitamin C supplements they recommend for you.
By: Phil Le Breton
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