Anti-Inflammatory Diet Improves Periodontal Disease Symptoms

You’ve probably heard it before: Diet and exercise can make a dramatic improvement in nearly any condition that ails you. But a new study from the German Research Foundation published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology has found that a diet that is said to reduce inflammation can also improve the symptoms of periodontal disease.

Periodontal, or gum, disease is caused by inflammation of the gums. It happens when plaque and bacteria enter the gums and bloodstream, causing red, tender gums that bleed during brushing or flossing. Early-stage gum disease is called gingivitis – and it’s completely reversible with diligent oral health care. But often times it is not treated and can turn into full-blown periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect the gums – it can cause everything from gum tissue and tooth loss to bone loss. Recent studies have also linked it to cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease.

So, how common is periodontal disease? According to the Centers for Disease Control, a reported 47.2 percent of American adults suffer from some stage of periodontal disease, and as age increases, so too do the number of periodontal disease cases.

“It’s a very big problem we’re not talking enough about,” says Dr. Allison Lesko, a dentist from Fort Collins, Colorado.

That’s because many people simply don’t realize how serious it is – or how deeply it affects the rest of the body.

But now, there may be a helpful solution on the way in the form of a diet.

“Researchers found that when they prescribed nothing more than a diet change to a group of 15 participants, there was a significant reduction in the severity of periodontitis symptoms,” says Lesko. “That same change was not present at all among the control group.”

So, what was the big change that caused such dramatic results?

“The diet was anti-inflammatory,” says Lesko.

That means it was specifically designed to include foods that reduce inflammation in the body. It was rich in foods like legumes, fruits, nuts and fish, and low in foods containing sugar, dairy and trans fats.

Upon consuming the special diet for eight weeks, researchers noticed a marked reduction in inflammation and bleeding in the study participants, who did nothing else to change their lifestyle during the study.

“They didn’t brush more or floss their teeth – they literally made no changes other than to adapt this anti-inflammatory diet, and that alone improved their periodontal disease symptoms across the board,” Lesko says.

So, should you use an anti-inflammatory diet to treat your own periodontal disease?

“Making positive changes to your diet can’t hurt,” says Lesko. “But we still want to see patients take better care of their teeth, and that means both brushing twice a day and flossing.”

Contact The Fort Collins Dentist Family & Implant Dentistry:


Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

2001 S Shields St Bldg L
Fort Collins, Colorado

Pancreatic Cancer Linked to Periodontal Disease

Pancreatic cancer is comparatively rare, with only 2 percent of cancers diagnosed each year occurring in the pancreas. Unfortunately, despite its low numbers, it is the fifth highest cause of cancer death worldwide and the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States alone each year. The five-year survival rate of pancreatic cancer is under 5 percent. Even more troubling, it seems to affect African Americans more commonly than any other demographic (pancreatic cancer rates are 50 to 90 percent higher in African Americans), a fact that has researchers scratching their heads. Worse still, among those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, African Americans have a disproportionately grim prognosis for the illness due to late diagnosis and inadequate treatment.

But now, a new link between pancreatic cancer and oral health has emerged, and it could help shed some light on this devastating illness.

According to a recent study, African American women with poor oral health are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than African American women with excellent oral health. Though there are many theories behind this information, researchers believe it is due in no small part to the periodontal bacteria that could be responsible for the oral hygiene problems.

Dr. Allison Lesko is a dentist in Fort Collins, Colorado. She says studies like these are just beginning to shed light on how dangerous periodontal bacteria really is.

“Emerging research is showing us that periodontal bacteria is responsible for everything from diabetes to heart disease, and now pancreatic cancer,” she says.

Other factors contributing to pancreatic cancer’s prevalence in the African American community include factors such as income disparity. The African American population has historically been less likely to have health insurance than other racial groups, which means these patients may be more likely to put off seeing a doctor or dentist because of cost.

According to Lesko, another factor that could contribute to the higher rates of pancreatic cancer in the African American community is higher rates of smoking, which has been found to not only cause tooth loss, decay and periodontal disease, but also has been proven to both cause and worsen various forms of cancer.

“It is estimated that about 25 percent of all pancreatic cancer cases are caused by cigarette smoke alone,” says Lesko.

Furthermore, the African American community is disproportionately affected by another illness: type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes increases the risk of pancreatic cancer. In fact, it is estimated that up to 80 percent of patients with pancreatic cancer either have long-standing type 2 diabetes, newly developed type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance.

So, what can be done to help reduce these numbers? According to Lesko, it’s a whole lot of preventative measures.

“Quit smoking, and take excellent care of your teeth,” she says. “Even if you can’t afford to go to the dentist or doctor regularly, you can afford to quit smoking and you can brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. Even steps as simple as those can add years to your life.”

Contact The Fort Collins Dentist Family & Implant Dentistry:


Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

2001 S Shields St Bldg L
Fort Collins, Colorado

Understanding the Stages of Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is the No. 1 cause of tooth loss in adults. Tooth loss in adults can be especially devastating, causing embarrassment and self-consciousness and leading to expensive dental repair work. It’s important to take great care of teeth from childhood into adulthood to prevent decay and disease. Here are the three main stages pf gum disease so you can understand it better and hopefully prevent it with good oral hygiene and regularly scheduled dental exams and cleanings.