Ask the Dentist: Healthy Eating and Dental Health
Q: Can healthy eating help my periodontal health, too?
A: Yes, your diet can affect your oral health as well as your overall health. For example, a study published in the January 2008 Journal of Periodontology indicated that the routine consumption of dairy products such as yogurt may reduce the risk of developing periodontal (gum) disease. According to the study, people between ages 40 and 79 who consumed 55 grams (a bit less than 4 tablespoons) or more of lactic acid foods every day were found to be healthier when evaluated for two indicators of gum disease.1
Q: Is it true that my dental health can be an early warning sign for other health problems?
A: Yes, trouble in the mouth can be a signal of a health problem elsewhere in the body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example, bone loss detected in the lower jaw of postmenopausal women may occur before the skeletal bone loss that is associated with osteoporosis.2
1 “Intake of Diary Products and Periodontal Disease: The Hisayama Study.” Y. Shimazaki. Journal of Periodontology. 2008, vol. 79, no. 1, pp. 131–137. http://www.joponline.org/doi/abs/10.1902/jop.2008.070202?prevSearch=allfield%3A(Yoshihiro+Shimazaki) Accessed 2010.
2 “Links Between Oral and General Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Oral Health, October 4, 2004. www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/publications/factsheets/sgr2000_fs4.htm Accessed 2010.