While most people understand the importance of eating healthy diets, many of us still underappreciate the impact diet can have on the body. At City Dental, Portland family dentist Dr. Jason Bajuscak wants every patient to understand how what we eat affects more than just our waistline. Diet and your oral health share a very close relationship that also goes deeper than what we might initially think.
By now we should all know that diets high in sugar increase the risk of developing a range of oral health problems. That’s because oral bacteria that thrives in the mouth uses the sugars we eat to produce harmful substances that contribute to enamel erosion and decay. The less sugar we consume, the less food harmful oral bacteria has to wreak havoc on our oral health.
However, new research continues to discover new connections between diet and oral health. Now a new study has found evidence that suggests eating more of foods loaded with B12 could decrease an individual’s risk of periodontal disease, a serious form of gum disease and leading cause of adult tooth loss.
The Benefits of B12
B12 performs an essential role by ensuring the normal function of the nervous and brain systems, in addition to play a part in the creation of blood in the body. B12 actually plays a role in the metabolism of every cell in your body. To determine B12’s role in an individual’s oral health, researchers from the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Germany teamed up to further investigate this essential nutrient.
Researchers began the study by following over 1,600 participants from 2002 to 2006 and again from 2008 to 2012. During these four year time periods, researchers would periodically measure participants’ B12 levels using by chemiluminescent immunoassay. Researchers also examined and measured clinical attachment loss and probing pocket depth, techniques used to determine the severity of gum disease.
Based on the data collected, researchers were able to identify an inverse relationship with baseline vitamin B12 levels and changes in average pocket depth and clinical attachment loss. In other words, study participants who tested as having the lowest B12 levels were more likely to suffer from advanced gum disease. Even more troubling, researchers also found a direct correlation between low levels of B12 and an increased risk of tooth loss.
While more study is needed to full understand the relationship between oral health and B12, these preliminary results do suggest that increased B12 consumption can lower an individual’s risk of gum disease.
Adding B12 To Your Diet
For most of us, B12 is already in most of the foods we consume daily. The nutrient is found in animal foods like eggs, dairy, fish and meat. However, this does mean the vegetarians and vegans have a higher risk of being B12 deficient. The foods highest in B12 levels include: shellfish, liver, fish, fortified cereals, red meat, cheese and eggs. For the more health minded, you can receive plenty of B12 from nonfat yogurt, skim milk, soymilk, tofu and smoked salmon.
Portland family dentist Dr. Jason Bajuscak hopes that patients consider the impact their diets can have on long-term oral health. Through improved diet, we can all enjoy a great looking smile that lasts a lifetime.