Dental Tribune International

Plant-based diet could help reduce gingivitis

FREIBURG, Germany: A recent study has shown that a plant-based wholefood diet enriched with omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin D is able to reduce gingival inflammation naturally. Based on the findings of this trial, the researchers recommended that dental professionals ought to assess dietary behaviour in patients with gingivitis and provide dietary recommendations in addition to periodontal therapy.

For the trial, 30 patients with gingivitis were randomised to an experimental and a control group stratified by their plaque values, which were taken at baseline and the end of the study. The experimental group changed to a diet low in processed carbohydrates and animal proteins, and rich in omega-3 fatty acid, vitamin C, vitamin D, antioxidants, plant nitrates and fibre for four weeks, whereas the control group remained on their western diet. All participants stopped using dental floss and other interdental cleaners during the trial period. Periodontal parameters, such as subgingival plaque values and gingival bleeding, after the procedure were assessed by a blinded dentist.

The findings indicated that, although there were no differences regarding the participants’ plaque values, the experimental group experienced a significant reduction in gingival bleeding. Apart from the potential benefit for oral health, a substantial increase in vitamin D values and weight loss was also evident.

“Study results clearly demonstrate the possibility to naturally reduce gingivitis by an optimised diet that also promotes general health. According to this, dental teams should address dietary habits and give adequate recommendations in the treatment of gingivitis, since it might be a side effect of a pro-inflammatory western diet,” said lead author Dr Johan Wölber, a dentist and research assistant in the Department of Operative Dentistry and Periodontology of the Centre for Dental Medicine at the University of Freiburg Medical Centre.

The study, titled “The influence of an anti-inflammatory diet on gingivitis. A randomized controlled trial”, was published online on 2 April 2019 in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology ahead of inclusion in an issue.

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