Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of byproducts from oral bacteria feeding on food debris in our mouths. The breakdown of the gums and bone support comes from the inflammatory response by the body. If left untreated periodontal disease can and will progress, eventually leading to tooth loss and possibly serious infections. Recent research has surrounded the use of supplements to help slow down or stop periodontal disease. Is vitamin D the answer for stopping or slowing periodontal disease?
What are The Stages of Periodontal Disease?
Gingivitis – This is the earliest form of periodontal disease. Gingivitis symptoms include dark red, puffy and inflamed gums. One of the hallmark signs of gingivitis is bleeding gums upon brushing or flossing. Luckily, gingivitis can be reversed with proper dental hygiene and professional care. If it is not reversed it can progress to the next stage, periodontitis.
Periodontitis - Once periodontal disease progresses to this stage it becomes much more difficult to control and manage. Periodontitis begins to attack and affect the supporting bones of the teeth. When this support breaks down there is the development of periodontal pockets which become very difficult to keep clean. They eventually become filled with plaque and bacteria leading to further erosion of the supporting bone.
Advanced Periodontitis - As the periodontal disease advances further, the fibers and bone that provide support for the teeth is destroyed. At least half of the bone support will have broken down at this point in the periodontal disease process. Teeth may begin to loosen. Deep root cleanings and surgery are typical treatments at this stage. This may include cleaning with a periodontal microscope, (Perioscope), tissue grafting, bone grafting, (Emdogain), periodontal antibiotic regimen (Periostat), placement of antibiotics directly into pockets, (Arestin), open flap surgery, and, possibly even tooth removal.
Periodontal Disease and Vitamin D Research
It has long been known that a well balanced nutritious diet can strengthen your immune system to allow the body to fend off any attack more efficiently. Recent research shows vitamin D might be helpful in controlling the inflammation associated with gingivitis and even periodontitis.
The research consisted of following 88 patients in a random trial. These patients were followed over 3 months and were divided into 4 groups. Each group received a different dose of vitamin D. They received either 2,000 IU/day, 1,000 IU/day, 500 IU/day, or a placebo (no vitamin D). Every 30 days the subjects were seen for a blood draw to determine vitamin D levels and a gingival index.
The blood levels were as expected with elevations based on dosage. However, the patients receiving the higher dose of vitamin D (2,000 IU/day) showed less gingival inflammation than the others. Researchers believe that vitamin D will have an effect on controlling periodontal disease.
Even though the research was limited in scope, it does give us hints and clues to believe that long term use of vitamin D can help control inflammation and periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can be difficult to control and this may lead to another tool for the patient and dentist to bring periodontal disease under control. Remember to see your dentist on a routine basis for dental examinations and professional cleanings. Maintaining good dental health is important for your whole body and not just your teeth and gums.
About the Author
Dr. Marielaina Perrone is a cosmetic dentist. Her advanced professional training and extensive dentistry experience translate into greater confidence and convenience for your entire family. Learn more at Henderson Cosmetic Dentist.
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