Anti-Oxidants and Your Oral Health

December 07, 2011 | Posted in Education

Looking after your oral health definitely does require good brushing and flossing habits as well as regular visits to your dentist. However, if you do not take care of yourself by maintaining a healthy diet, brushing, flossing and your dentist may only delay the inevitable major restoration your mouth may require some day.

A good diet is vital to prevent such harmful conditions as periodontitis. In particular, foods that are high in anti-oxidants may help improve your periodontal health. To understand how anti-oxidants can help, you must first understand what they are up against.

Our bodies are constantly being exposed to dangerous free radicals. These free radicals are toxins that damage our bodies at the most basic cellular and DNA levels. Left unchecked, they can contribute to such chronic conditions as periodontitis, heart and lung disease and diabetes.

Sources of free radicals include cigarettes, sunlight, stress, pollution, certain medications, food additives and household cleaners, just to name a few. As you can see from this list, it is virtually impossible to avoid the sources of dangerous free radicals.

However, anti-oxidants help protect our cells by combating the effects of these free radicals. One of the benefits anti-oxidants provide is their ability to improve the health of patients suffering from periodontitis.

People with periodontitis usually experience swelling of the gums, pockets between the teeth and connective gum tissue of 5 millimeters or more, and bleeding of the gums. Increased levels of anti-oxidants have been found to reduce swelling and pocket depth while virtually eliminating bleeding. In other words, combined with improved oral health care practices, anti-oxidants can have a dramatic affect on reducing periodontitis.

This begs the question then as to how one can increase the level of anti-oxidants in the body. While there can be a number of sources, the best way would be to increase the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables you consume. Many people may also require appropriate vitamin supplements to attain optimal levels.

Of course, many of you will have heard reports about the anti-oxidant benefits of red wine and dark chocolate! While we certainly would not advocate some indulgence in these areas, it is quite apparent that overall health would be better served by looking for anti-oxidants in other sources!

Once again, the moral of the story is that there is a strong link between your oral health and your nutrition. Talk to your dentist if you have any questions in this regard. We can be found at and would be happy to help.

In the meantime, increase those fruits and vegetables in your diet. Because increasing your level of anti-oxidants is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr.  Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon