Best Food for Periodontal Disease & Gingivitis

Best Food for Periodontal Disease & Gingivitis
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What would happen if you stopped brushing your teeth but ate healthier?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Experimentally, if you have people stop brushing their teeth, plaque starts to build up, and within    a few days the gums start to get inflamed. You can’t see anything yet, but if you take a biopsy at the gum line, you can see the inflammation starting to spread. And within a few weeks overt gingivitis becomes apparent, where your gums can get red, swollen, and bleed easily. And if you don’t do anything about it, you can develop periodontal disease, where the inflammation creeps down into the supporting structures of the tooth—the bone and ligaments—setting you up for tooth loss. Okay, but how did we get along for millions of years without brushing? Yeah, “[d]ental disease is…almost universal” these days, but thousands of years before the invention of the toothbrush, there are skulls with perfect teeth. Now, you can say, “Yeah, but that was also thousands of years before the invention of candy bars.” But you don’t know…until you put it to the test.

Okay, yeah, but where are you going to find people to not only stop brushing but also to forego eating processed junk? Security guards. That‘s how you do it. It was one of these survivor-type TV shows where people were forced to live under Stone-Age conditions; so, no toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, toothpicks, or other oral hygiene products for a month. Now, they could use a twig or something, but they were pretty much on their own. But, no candy bars either. They were going for about 4,000 BC; so, lots of whole grains, with supplemental salt, herbs, honey, milk, and meat. And then, they could go out and pick berries, or see what they could catch. So, what happened?

With no oral hygiene, their plaque built up, but their gums got healthier. This is measuring BOP, bleeding on probing (whether or not their gums bled when poked with a dental tool), a measure of gingivitis. And, in almost every case, they got better. Here are before-and-after pictures.Yeah, lots of plaque buildup, but actually healthier gums. How is that possible? Well, many of the more disease-causing bacteria seemed to have disappeared from their mouths. They suggest this could be from the lack of refined sugars. But, they were eating honey; so, it wasn’t like a sugar-free diet. Ah, but what they were eating were lots of whole grains, and berries rich in antioxidant phytonutrients “with anti-inflammatory properties.” So, maybe it was a combination: sugar-intake restriction combined with the intake of really healthy foods. Thus, all those experimental studies where people stop brushing and their gums inevitably get inflamed “may only be applicable” for people eating lots of processed foods rich in sugar and low in anti-inflammatory whole plant foods.

What about “the role of nutrition in periodontal health?” Gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, “an inflammatory disease of the supporting tissues of the teeth,” which “if untreated,” can lead “to the “progressive loss of the…bone” that holds the teeth in place. Now, part of the development of periodontal disease may involve oxidative stress. So, not only do we need to reduce our intake of pro-inflammatory foods like refined carbs and saturated fats, maybe it would help if we sought out foods that are antioxidant-rich.

So, is there an association between dietary vitamin C intake, for example, with periodontitis? Apparently so, with increasing risk of periodontitis associated with lower levels of vitamin C intake. But you don’t know…until you put it to the test to figure out what effect vitamin C depletion and supplementation would have on periodontal health. They basically locked everyone up for three months so they can provide controlled amounts of vitamin C and… “measures of [gum] inflammation were directly related to their [vitamin C] status.” On about one orange worth of vitamin C a day, their gums improve, but then down to 5 mg a day, they got worse. But then on 10 oranges’ worth a day, they got better, then worse again when back down to 5. Pretty convincing, though 5 mg a day is like scurvy level. I mean, we know that your gums start bleeding and your teeth can fall out when you have scurvy, but that doesn’t mean taking extra helps.

And indeed, 1,500 mg of vitamin C a day did not seem to help prevent gingivitis. And even 2,000 a day failed to help periodontitis sufferers. Maybe vitamin C is just too weak of an antioxidant? Okay, what about lycopene, the powerful antioxidant pigment that makes tomatoes red? It worked! But that was from injecting the stuff directly into the gum pocket with a syringe. Does it work if you just eat it? Let’s find out.

“A randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial” on the “efficacy of lycopene in the treatment of gingivitis.” Two weeks of less than a single tomato-a-day’s worth of lycopene versus placebo for two weeks, both along with the standard dental treatment, which helped—a 10 to 20% reduction in gingivitis in the placebo group, but nearly 30% improvement within just one week in the lycopene group. And this was just like the amount of lycopene found in a teaspoon and a half of tomato paste a day. Totally doable. Okay, so tomatoes may help with gingivitis. What about periodontitis?

Another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial again treated with the usual dental cleaning plus either that one tomato-a-day’s worth of lycopene or a placebo for two months, and… significant improvements in plaque gingivitis and bleeding, though not probe pocket depth and clinical attachment. You can see the difference. See how much better their gums look. They conclude that “[s]upplementation with lycopene seems to have augmented the healing sequence of inflamed gingival tissues.” Okay, but that was with a whole tomato’s worth a day. How about half-a-tomato’s worth, or just three-quarters of a teaspoon of tomato paste worth of lycopene a day? It didn’t work; no difference, so looks like you have to go the whole tomato.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: beatrize via Pixabay. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Experimentally, if you have people stop brushing their teeth, plaque starts to build up, and within    a few days the gums start to get inflamed. You can’t see anything yet, but if you take a biopsy at the gum line, you can see the inflammation starting to spread. And within a few weeks overt gingivitis becomes apparent, where your gums can get red, swollen, and bleed easily. And if you don’t do anything about it, you can develop periodontal disease, where the inflammation creeps down into the supporting structures of the tooth—the bone and ligaments—setting you up for tooth loss. Okay, but how did we get along for millions of years without brushing? Yeah, “[d]ental disease is…almost universal” these days, but thousands of years before the invention of the toothbrush, there are skulls with perfect teeth. Now, you can say, “Yeah, but that was also thousands of years before the invention of candy bars.” But you don’t know…until you put it to the test.

Okay, yeah, but where are you going to find people to not only stop brushing but also to forego eating processed junk? Security guards. That‘s how you do it. It was one of these survivor-type TV shows where people were forced to live under Stone-Age conditions; so, no toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, toothpicks, or other oral hygiene products for a month. Now, they could use a twig or something, but they were pretty much on their own. But, no candy bars either. They were going for about 4,000 BC; so, lots of whole grains, with supplemental salt, herbs, honey, milk, and meat. And then, they could go out and pick berries, or see what they could catch. So, what happened?

With no oral hygiene, their plaque built up, but their gums got healthier. This is measuring BOP, bleeding on probing (whether or not their gums bled when poked with a dental tool), a measure of gingivitis. And, in almost every case, they got better. Here are before-and-after pictures.Yeah, lots of plaque buildup, but actually healthier gums. How is that possible? Well, many of the more disease-causing bacteria seemed to have disappeared from their mouths. They suggest this could be from the lack of refined sugars. But, they were eating honey; so, it wasn’t like a sugar-free diet. Ah, but what they were eating were lots of whole grains, and berries rich in antioxidant phytonutrients “with anti-inflammatory properties.” So, maybe it was a combination: sugar-intake restriction combined with the intake of really healthy foods. Thus, all those experimental studies where people stop brushing and their gums inevitably get inflamed “may only be applicable” for people eating lots of processed foods rich in sugar and low in anti-inflammatory whole plant foods.

What about “the role of nutrition in periodontal health?” Gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, “an inflammatory disease of the supporting tissues of the teeth,” which “if untreated,” can lead “to the “progressive loss of the…bone” that holds the teeth in place. Now, part of the development of periodontal disease may involve oxidative stress. So, not only do we need to reduce our intake of pro-inflammatory foods like refined carbs and saturated fats, maybe it would help if we sought out foods that are antioxidant-rich.

So, is there an association between dietary vitamin C intake, for example, with periodontitis? Apparently so, with increasing risk of periodontitis associated with lower levels of vitamin C intake. But you don’t know…until you put it to the test to figure out what effect vitamin C depletion and supplementation would have on periodontal health. They basically locked everyone up for three months so they can provide controlled amounts of vitamin C and… “measures of [gum] inflammation were directly related to their [vitamin C] status.” On about one orange worth of vitamin C a day, their gums improve, but then down to 5 mg a day, they got worse. But then on 10 oranges’ worth a day, they got better, then worse again when back down to 5. Pretty convincing, though 5 mg a day is like scurvy level. I mean, we know that your gums start bleeding and your teeth can fall out when you have scurvy, but that doesn’t mean taking extra helps.

And indeed, 1,500 mg of vitamin C a day did not seem to help prevent gingivitis. And even 2,000 a day failed to help periodontitis sufferers. Maybe vitamin C is just too weak of an antioxidant? Okay, what about lycopene, the powerful antioxidant pigment that makes tomatoes red? It worked! But that was from injecting the stuff directly into the gum pocket with a syringe. Does it work if you just eat it? Let’s find out.

“A randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial” on the “efficacy of lycopene in the treatment of gingivitis.” Two weeks of less than a single tomato-a-day’s worth of lycopene versus placebo for two weeks, both along with the standard dental treatment, which helped—a 10 to 20% reduction in gingivitis in the placebo group, but nearly 30% improvement within just one week in the lycopene group. And this was just like the amount of lycopene found in a teaspoon and a half of tomato paste a day. Totally doable. Okay, so tomatoes may help with gingivitis. What about periodontitis?

Another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial again treated with the usual dental cleaning plus either that one tomato-a-day’s worth of lycopene or a placebo for two months, and… significant improvements in plaque gingivitis and bleeding, though not probe pocket depth and clinical attachment. You can see the difference. See how much better their gums look. They conclude that “[s]upplementation with lycopene seems to have augmented the healing sequence of inflamed gingival tissues.” Okay, but that was with a whole tomato’s worth a day. How about half-a-tomato’s worth, or just three-quarters of a teaspoon of tomato paste worth of lycopene a day? It didn’t work; no difference, so looks like you have to go the whole tomato.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: beatrize via Pixabay. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Doctor's Note

It should come as no surprise that healthy foods can benefit all parts of the body, but I still love to see the data!

More on dental and oral health:

More on that red pigment in tomatoes in Lycopene Supplements vs. Prostate Cancer and Tomato Sauce vs. Prostate Cancer.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

109 responses to “Best Food for Periodontal Disease & Gingivitis

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  1. Very interesting ! I was suffering from terrible eczema and was advised to go on a very restrictive diet and off of night shade veggies ( tomatoes ) It had been a year. Went for my usual dental check up and she asked if I was eating alot of sugar because of the decay happening in my mouth even though I was still brushing and flossing. I had given up sugar altogether so it was a mystery. Even though my eczema has gone I’m wondering if I should now get back to the tomatoes that I love !

    1. A PubMed article said, “Whereas immediate-type reactions to tomato fruits are well known, contact dermatitis caused by tomatoes or tomato plants is rarely reported.” They said of the eczema patients that only 9% had a tomato allergy.

      No matter what, you would want to increase your vegetables.

      “In the international study of asthma and allergies in childhood of over a million kids, “[a] consistent inverse relationship [meaning protective relationship] was seen between prevalence rates of [asthma, allergies, and eczema] and the intake of [plants,] starch, [grains,] and vegetables.”

      I had such bad eczema as a young person, but it went away entirely after I got off meat, eggs, and MSG.

      I did get some type of skin thing a few years ago. It wouldn’t go away after 4 months of trying different creams and lotions, so I got an infrared light bulb and it started to go away after the first 20 minutes and was gone in 5 days.

        1. I wished Deb a happy belated earlier this a.m. in the last pot thread. In case she doesn’t read comments from the “old” ones, here’s another happy belated. (Will she read this, I wonder!)

            1. Hey, I tested just reading the transcript today and then came back tonight to watch the video.

              I learn more from the videos.

              I see the unspoken writing of the studies and see the headlines and pictures.

              I wondered if I would come back and have different topics come up and honey was immediately something which jumped out not because of the visuals but because of how Dr Greger modulated his voice.

              Hint: look up honey. They have put it to the test.

          1. My dog just made me happy.

            Yesterday, he wasn’t eating and I talked to the vet today and said that he hasn’t been taking the supplements for a while and it seems like he is weaker and not eating and I started giving him some salmon, but that is what he stopped eating leaving it behind, which is not my dog.

            I bought a dogs turkey loaf and he didn’t est it and I threw it in the trash and got little bugs by morning, because I didn’t put it outside.

            This morning, he still didnf eat, but tonight he wanted a triple portion of everything and he stood in front of me when I was about to eat my veggie wrap and normally I don’t allow that and he normally doesn’t do that, but he was starving and wanted more raw vegetables and I emptied my wrsp one vegetable at a time and he asked for more again.

            1. It isn’t just that he ate so much.

              He bounded up the steps twice tonight and yesterday he wouldn’t go up them, which is fine, because I have a ramp and yesterday he led me straight past the steps to the ramp and today I was walking toward the ramp and he looked at me as If I was crazy and ran straight up the steps both times. He usually had been circling before going up but he didn’t either time.

              He is refusing the CBD oil and the maitake mushrooms and the steroids and is feeling better is what I perceive.

              I have to do a praise God and thank you Jesus, because I told the vet that unless something happens I think it could be within the next week or two and my dog heard it and I think he just did a version of “I’m not dead yet” like my grandmother did.

              1. I forgot.

                I have a question.

                If I happen to be around an 8 year old who has a boy who is a friend who has hoof in mouth is that something my dog and I can get?

                1. Okay, I looked it up and even though she said hoof unless the boy is a horse, it looks like he has hand, foot and mouth disease.

                  My dog is safe.

                  That is all I needed to know.

                  1. My mind immediately went into one-liners.

                    I have heard of foot in mouth, is hoof in mouth the horse version?

                    Is hand foot and mouth disease when you have stuck your foot in your mouth so many times that you need a hand getting it out?

                    1. It has to be like MTHFR leading straight to Mother F*cker.

                      Hand Foot and Mouth would be where every med school student jokes about foot in mouth disease and where the foot gets stuck so far in that you need a hand pulling it out.

                      It is my guess, but “foot in mouth disease” seems like a universal joke for the older generation.

    2. Lynn:
      I’m seriously allergic to tomatoes and can’t eat them at all. Other sources of lycopene, such as guava and watermelon, are not practical for eating daily. I get my lycopene from goji berries, which also is a nightshade but I don’t have a problem with it. (I eat only a small amount, a teaspoon, daily.)

        1. George, have you ever heard of WTRMLNWTR (I believe that’s actually the name). It’s cold pressed watermelon whole fruit and rind, no water or anything else added except lemon as a preservative. It’s so good, and perhaps an attainable way to get watermelon every day depending on budget.

  2. This is very interesting to me. While I’m not about to stop brushing my teeth, I am curious about the effect of a short term (7 to 14 days) water fast on the gums. Would fasting increase gum inflammation – or reduce it? Perhaps someone will put that to the test. Thanks for another amazing video. I have learned so much from this site and truly appreciate your work. Thank you!

    1. I do not know about possible effects on dental health but sustained water-only fasting may carry some risks.

      “A study from Brazil found that having rats fast for 24 hours on alternate days increased their belly fat and interfered with the ability of insulin to control blood sugar levels (reported at the European Society of Endocrinology annual meeting, May 21, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain).
      ……….. some people might adopt a literal definition of “fasting” and try to avoid all foods for periods of 24 hours or more. If the findings of this new rat study are found to apply to humans, total fasting for extended periods could do more harm than good. People who regularly avoid food for more than 12-16 hours may be at increased risk for becoming diabetic if they regain their lost weight, and people who are already diabetic may find that regaining the lost weight makes their diabetes worse than it was beforehand because of increased fat deposition in the liver.”
      http://www.drmirkin.com/nutrition/long-total-fasts-may-be-harmful.html

      This is plausible and consistent with the old thrifty gene hypothesis which postulated that T2D might be evolutionarily advantageous in times of feast and famine (ie much of human evolutionary history). In other words, T2D might offer some survival benefits in feast and famine situations. That idea has been around in various forms since the early 1960s.

      The standard advice, I believe, is that we should only do sustained water-only fasts under medical supervision, which would include effective monitoring of relevant biomaarkers. You might find it useful to look at Dr Mirkin’s article before making a decison on this.

      1. Tom,

        I read that study and I read the other intermittent fasting articles where it allowed the fat to be taken out of the Pancreas similar to Dr Barnard’s fat comes out of the Pancreas and the Pancreas functions again.

        My cousin fasted more out of not feeling well and stopped needing insulin, but you are saying that if he gains the weight back, he will be worse off than he was before doing the fasting.

        Does the fat go back into the Pancreas again?

        1. Sorry Deb but I don’t know. This was only a rat study and we don’t know if the effects translate to humans.

          Losing weight alone can reverse (pre) diabetes in some people. However, it is a cliche that most people who diet do gain all the weight back, and often more. after they complete the diet. What the long term effects are in humnan we don’t know.

          This US National Institute on Aging page on calorie restriction and fasting summarise what we do know. I think the point about talking with your doctor etc before going ahead with oe of these approaches is sound advice.
          https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/calorie-restriction-and-fasting-diets-what-do-we-know

      2. Gee whiz, I sure am learning a lot about what I’ve been doing wrong, by visiting this website!

        I’ve fasted one day per week, typically Monday, for over 35 years. My fast consists of not eating anything after the last food on Sunday night, until breakfast on Tuesday morning, drinking water, black coffee and black or green tea (never with cream or sugar) on Monday. I haven’t noticed any particular weight loss or gain for which I would blame or credit those days of not eating. I am neither diabetic nor hypertensive. In fact, the only behavioral changes that I’ve ever noticed were an unusual interest in eating cheese and, from time to time, I chew the electrical wiring in my house.

        1. “….I chew the electrical wiring in my house.”
          – – – – – –

          Steve, I hear electrical wiring tastes just like chicken. :-)

          I haven’t eaten anything between my three squares a day since I was a kid. So I’ll consider that “fasting.” My hubby used to tell company, “She never misses a meal.” Hah. (Never had a weight problem either.)

          I can do a fast for a blood test with no problem, or for major surgery if necessary. But to fast just because it’s supposedly good for us….. Hell, I figure we don ourselves with enuf hairshirts in this lifetime as it is. :-(

          1. Back in the days when I was a RC it seems to me “fasting at Lent” meant no eating between meals if over the age of 21, and no meat on Fridays or something. Fish was allowed, however. Big Whoop! It was considered a very holy thing to do. We were earning our angel wings, you see.

            Heck, a friend and I — during the lunch hour at our parochial school — went to the next-door church and crawled on our hands and knees and did the Stations of the Cross thing at all the statues. Giggled the whole time. One of the penguins (nuns) caught us at it and told us to stop. Which was okay with me….my knees started hurting after a while.

            https://www.thoughtco.com/rules-for-fasting-and-abstinence-542167

            If I were a fasting Muslim I’d have to avoid food during the daylight hours from sunrise to sunset. Am sure I could do that with no problem. But what do they do after sunset, stuff their faces with all sorts of yummy stuff? Always wondered about that.

            http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/05/15/most-u-s-muslims-observe-ramadan-by-fasting-during-daylight-hours/

            1. YR
              I do my weekly fast for and by myself. In the 35+ years of the practice, I’ve never been bothered by friends or family members who asked to join, and I’ve never had to concern myself with liturgical correctness or, as with Ramadan, felt compelled to wait for the sun to set.

              I enjoy the break; it’s the unplugging and plugging back in of my digestive system, so that the basal algorithms get back on track. If I have a test or an interview or even my daily crossword puzzle, my mind seems to function much more clearly on those days–even if I haven’t “put it to the test,” to validate that feeling, I’m a happier and more productive person, nevertheless.

              Food insecurity is no joke. Fasting, for me, is a voluntary practice, not an economic requirement. If we didn’t throw away 30 – 40% of all food produced in this country,
              we’d all be better off, and better fed. And I would still have my Mondays.

              1. Steve, it sounds like this regimen has kept you healthy and in top-notch condition, with no physical complaints.. Some of us know what works for our bodies — a lot of people don’t.

                Kudos to you!

        2. “In fact, the only behavioral changes that I’ve ever noticed were an unusual interest in eating cheese and, from time to time, I chew the electrical wiring in my house.”

          I have known some people to complain that they start feeling a bit ‘ratty’ after they have been without food for 5 or 6 hours and start to feel hungry.

          Some Mormons routinel fast for one day a month and they seem to benefit from it – lower levels of T2D and heart disease.
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2572991/

          It’s possible that there is some threshhold effect here. While occasional fasting might help, the chonic alternate day total fasting regime those rats were subjected to, might damage our health. My point really was that we don’t know what the health effects of long term total fasting are, so doing a 7-14 day water-only fast would be more in the realm of self-experimentation than of engaging in a therapeutic practice that as been scientifically demonstrated to be beneficial.

    2. John, as I recall from my past fasting research, it was pointed out that through fasting our inactive white blood cells were recycled and I’m just thinking that perhaps a lot of inflammation is reduced during the fasting period. I’ve done a few 3~4 day fasts in the past but did not notice anything in re: gum inflammation. I’ve not had any such problems lately that I recall but I drink various teas daily and add things like oregano drops, white willow bark drops, chlorella drops (started recently) vanilla drops, bergamot water, clove water and chlorophyll as well. My fasts would allow a coffee or tea in the morning so maybe doing that instead of water would help keep any inflammation down.

      1. Lonie,

        I was just reading about chlorella and Cancer and it has a unique property.

        If you are not exposed to a high level of toxins, Chlorella can help you have 40-something percent fewer tumors.

        BUT if you ARE exposed to a high level of toxins, Chlorella caused there to be significantly more tumors.

        1. Thanks Deb… will be on the look-out for something further on this.

          Also, should have mentioned that the chlorella drops also have Cilantro at a 2:1 ratio to the chlorella. Wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this combination is well researched as a heavy metal detox.

    3. Hello John, thank you so much for such an interesting question.

      I did a quick search on PubMed, and apparentrly water fasting hasn’t been put into the test, but caloric restriction has been studied indeed, although in animal models. For example, take a look at the following articles:

      The Effects of a Calorie Reduced Diet on Periodontal Inflammation and Disease in a Non Human Primate Model
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2519872/

      “These clinical findings are consistent with available evidence that CR has anti-inflammatory effects. Moreover, these experimental findings are the first observations that CR dampens the inflammatory response and reduces active periodontal breakdown associated with an acute microbial challenge.

      So, maybe you don’t need to go fasting for a whole week, but instead eat according to your caloric requirements and avoid pro-inflamatory foods, like the ones Dr. Greger’s mention on the video.

      Hope it helps

  3. Of course the strategy is not “a tomato a day.” It’s a diet rich in whole, plant-based foods. And it’s not about gum disease. It’s about all disease. Researchers isolate nutrients and diseases because that is an effective way to test hypotheses. But humans are best served by the opposite, by variety.

    1. While that is true, some of us are feeding people who are stuck on a SAD diet and sometimes an article like this one can be used to get the SAD “stuckee” to try eating more oranges (at the very least.) In fact, when told about this study, my SAD diet spouse said, “Well, put ‘oranges’ on your grocery list!”

      1. WFPBLiisa said: my SAD diet spouse said, “Well, put ‘oranges’ on your grocery list!”
        —————————————————————————————–

        Excuse me? You are in charge of buying the groceries and apparently against your wishes your husband is not on the same diet as you follow? That’s just you not using your power over what goes on the plate.

      2. WFBLiisa, I watch the videos with the sound on — which my husband can hear, since he’s frequently nearby. And they have affected his viewpoint! No doubt more than I could have on my own — he even quotes some of our favorite Dr. Greger comments (“Put it to the test!” “Until now!”). He was happy enough to eat my vegetarian cooking (when I met him, he’d been a widower for almost 5 years, and he does not like cooking), but he now firmly supports wfpb eating.

    2. Stephen M Billig said: Researchers isolate nutrients and diseases because that is an effective way to test hypotheses. But humans are best served by the opposite, by variety.
      ——————————————————————

      Pretty much agree with all you said but the statements above sort of goes along with my thinking that we waste a lot of research opportunities in our scientific investigations.

      That is, we do not continue a study where we reach findings, by adding additional layers (foods, conditions etc.) that might change or ameliorate the primary findings.

      That may happen more often once we get more AI involved in studies.

  4. Jordan Peterson, darling of the Bruh philosophers, claims that an all-meat diet cured his gingivitis. I was appalled that a university level educator would have gum disease to begin with, and incredulous that an all meat diet would improve it. I doubt that he is lying, but I wonder what the true story is?

    1. Well, he got rid of all of the sugar and refined carbs so that might be enough.

      According to PubMed: “Dental caries cannot develop without the presence of dietary fermentable carbohydrates, in particular sugar.”

      Gingivitis is related to inflammation, so WFPB would be better, but getting rid of sugar would do something.

        1. Barb, the Fodmap diet is a pretty terrible diet in general. Should only be used for a short time while working to normalize gut bacteria. Restricting vegetables, mushrooms, beans etc. shouldn’t be done for very long. I advise patients to add these foods very slowly, and their bodies will become better at properly digesting them.

          One of the problems is so many people are on proton pump inhibitors. They aren’t making enough stomach acid to digest these types of food. And getting them weaned off PPI’s takes a long time. Usually their basic problem was that they weren’t producing enough stomach acid to begin with, and food was just sitting undigested in the gut too long.
          Particularly, as people get older, and in general, produce less stomach acid, the high meat diet they are eating begins to be a problem.

          As far as tomatoes are concerned, this is great news! This time of year I usually have at least one tomato at every meal. Don’t like the hothouse type available in the winter. Then I prefer canned.

          Thank you Dr. Gregor for providing this information.

        2. Barb,

          WFPB is better.

          Unless you are having problems with something, don’t fix what is broken!

          I am surrounded by people who can’t fo WFPB and for them, I look for other ways to improve things.

    2. I developed peridontal disease in my early twenties, and despite being uncommonly scrupulous about dental hygiene, my gums slowly got worse and worse. My dentist and hygienist were at a loss to explain why; I had my teeth professionally cleaned four times a year, and even though, as the hygienist noted, there was very little plaque or tartar to remove, my gums bled horribly every time, and the gum pockets got deeper, and I was slowly losing bone mass around my teeth. Being a university-level educator for the past thirty years hasn’t helped me, either :) , but adopting a WFPB diet about seven years ago definitely did. Almost immediately, my gums stopped bleeding—completely. I still have gum pockets; occasionally, I’m told that one or another has closed up a millimetre, but on the whole, they’re what they were at the end of my omniverous eating life. But the bone loss has stopped. The disease has stablilized, in other words, and the old inflammation is all gone. I couldn’t be happier about this—no more “hotspots,” no more bleeding at the slightest touch, just a nice, calm, happy mouth. Sadly, I’m having some trouble convincing my dentist to take my diet hypothesis seriously.

  5. I had teeth problems all my life. Ate a carnivorous diet for 35 years then a processed food vegan diet for 15. 3 years ago switched to WFPB, no sugar, no oil. Now I don’t have any teeth problems for the first time in my life. Last cleaning I asked my hygienist if I had any plaque. She said “no”. Eating berries every day, I asked if they were stained. She said “not really”. Thank you Dr. Greger and Dr. McDougall. You saved me a lot of trouble, pain, and money.

  6. Yet another usefull advice next to green tea/amla mouthwash to preserve dental and gum health! Thanks mr. Greger! Could we also include xylitol (gum) and erithritol? These sugars seem to kill streptococcus mutans.

  7. I have eaten WFPB for over 20 years and have suffered with periodontal disease even longer. I eat tomatoes every day…in fact, I joke about not being able to cook without tomatoes, onions and garlic. At one point, my periodontist subtlety suggested that I should consider that my vegan lifestyle might be contributing to my condition! I changed periodontist! Still, it baffles them that my gum pockets remain deep. I’ve had gum surgery twice and there’s no more surgery available. I have to see the dentist/periodontist 4 times a year. I wish there were a dietary solution…I would gladly embrace it.

    1. Trena:
      I’ve read that coenzyme Q 10 can treat periodontal disease. Reportedly, in Europe, it’s prescribed to treat periodontal disease.

    2. Teens,

      What B-12 are you taking?

      This is not a professional opinion. It is a hunch.

      There have been a few Methyl fails that I have come across lately and B12 deficiency can cause bleeding gums.

        1. No matter what a source of Beta Glucan seems in order.

          But if you are using Methyl B-12, could you let us know?

          It would help some of us because B-12 is such a controversial subject.

          Dr Greger recommends Cyano, because it tested better in studies, but most people recommend Methyl and we have had a Methyl fail on this site already and I am hoping for an update by someone else to see if methyl was a fail for her.

    1. Thanks for the link. I read just a few lines “Oral microorganisms that is gram positive and gram negative bacteria are known to be involved in causation of these diseases.” before realizing I have been doing something that could be useful for others to try.

      That is, drink (or at least swill throughout the day) distilled water. Distilled water is probably the only water treatment that kills both gram positive and gram negative bacteria.

      Personally, I make tea from distilled water (distilled in a stainless steel distiller that empties the condensed steam into a glass container) or I either drink the plain water (with a magnesium rod treatment of at least 8 hours to create extra hydrogen in the distilled water.)

      One has to be careful of the container used to hold distilled water as it is a solvent of a sort, due to its 7.0 pH. I personally keep some colloidal minerals on hand if I’m drinking other than the extra Hydrogen version.

      1. If distilled water kills bacteria, then what is it doing to your (eg gut, mouth, throat etc etc) microbiome when you drink it?

        1. A salient question.

          Causes me to ponder that perhaps it just insures the water you are drinking in bacteria free so no added germs (or chemicals.) I suppose the pH of the water is immediately changed once it enters the throat, stomach, gut… but maybe kills germs on contact in the mouth before the saliva acts upon the water.

          Anyway, I don’t seem to have any problems with my personal microbiome and while water with the optimal balance of minerals for an individual may be o.k., there are too many additives trying to purify it for me to take the chance of using tap water.

          Just my personal take.

  8. Yesterday I read something that shocked me at the ConsumerLabs website. They cited Swedish research reporting a correlation between higher vitamin c usage and cataracts. !,000 mg per day made cataracts 18% more likely if I’m remembering right. Life Extension is trying to get us to use Vitamin C topically. I haven’t read their article about it yet.

    1. SaraC, were they going by people using vitamin C supplements? I would assume supplements.

      Dr. Greger has an awesomely informative video on here about cataracts… Going on memory, they actually form as a last resort to protect the retina from blindness because the retina is not getting sufficient zeaxanthin and lutein which are vital to its protection and health.

  9. Okay, before I get to my query I just want to remind everybody that there’s no such thing as a stupid question, correct? Here goes: Is the benefit to be gained from tomato paste secondary to systemic lycopene or the direct effect of the lycopene/tomato paste on teeth and gums? The reason I ask is that tomato paste is pretty acidic, right? I probably already have significant enamel loss from guzzling way too many sodas back in the day, so nowadays I try to be careful when eating or drinking stuff that’s quite acidic; do y’all think that gobbling down tomato paste by spooning it pretty far back on my tongue and washing it down with lots of water would do the trick, or do I not need to be so paranoid about it contacting my teeth and gums? Oh, and one more thing for all of you football fans: Texas 48, Oklahoma 45 … hook ‘em Horns!

    1. Barry, I think the tomato paste needs to be in contact with the mouth as much as possible to get rid of the germs in question.

      In re: Texas 48, Oklahoma 45 … hook ‘em Horns!

      Who cares… besides, Austin is weird.

    2. Hi, Barry Standley. First of all, my sister is a Longhorn, so she would appreciate your team spirit! Second, your question is not stupid, at all. Dental erosion is an issue of concern with regard to acidic foods and drinks. The important thing is to rinse your mouth after consuming them, and to avoid brushing your teeth immediately following ingestion. If you want to neutralize the acid in your mouth more quickly, you can put a little baking soda in the water you use to rinse. More on dental erosion and sour foods and drinks may be found here: https://nutritionfacts.org/2016/05/12/rinse-your-mouth-after-sour-foods-and-drinks/
      I hope that helps!

    3. Barry, I’m no authority, but I would say you’re worrying too much. I don’t think that eating marinara sauce or consuming tomato paste is going to be detrimental to your teeth–it hasn’t been to mine. It’s always a good idea to rinse our mouth with water after meals to neutralize the acids. The health of my teeth and gums improved since going WFPB vegan (mostly whole foods, not as strict as some), I also eat a lot of tomatoes and tomato paste.

  10. I have had the impression that turmeric, especially fresh turmeric root, helps with inflamed parts in the mouth. I like to cut some slices of turmeric and let them do their work over night. And no, turmeric does not dye your teeth permanently yellow. Just eating one normal heathy meal and any yellow from the turmeric is gone.

  11. Poking with a dental tool: the tool is blunt tipped and touches the gum. If the gum is healthy or mildly inflamed, it is easily tolerable. If the gums are roaring red and on fire especially underneath, the touch is misperceived.

    Injection is the wrong term, the solution was infused at the gum edge: no ouch.

    I spent 13 years as a periodontal therapist. If the patient has a poor immune system, such as an uncontrolled diabetic or smoker or nutritionally inadequate as the vid shows, then the infection proceeds much faster.

    Btw, my training actually included nutrition, a three-month daily class.

    Please consider having a knowledgeable person review your statements to stop spreading such misinformation.

    The easiest way to cure gum and periodontal infection is to either extract all the teeth or to keep clean teeth. Deep bone invasion often must be surgically reconstructed if the teeth are to be saved.

    1. As a volunteer for NutritionFacts.org, I’m glad to learn that in your professional training you had a course in nutrition. Your comment on “misinformation” puzzles me,You pointed out a few clarifications based on your years of experience and that’s appreciated. However it seems this video and your comments on the importance of developing a good immune system, avoiding diabetes risk and having a nutritionally adequate diet seem to support the same themes. Certainly “delving into the data” as Dr. Greger mentioned to focus on how food affects oral health is on the right track.

    2. “Please consider having a knowledgeable person review your statements to stop spreading such misinformation.”
      – – – – – –

      Was your statement directed at Dr. Greger?

    3. “Btw, my training actually included nutrition, a three-month daily class.”

      Kim, a three month daily class looks pretty flimsy compared to Dr. Greger’s lifelong dedication to the latest research in nutritional science. And who knows what the class you took was teaching… speaking misinformation, so many nutrition classes get it wrong and aren’t evidence-based. I’m not sure what “misinformation” you’re referring to in this video, he’s presenting scientific research and data… your comment makes no sense. Your comment and attitude is pretty confusing.

  12. I eat a ton of fruits and vegetables and rarely touch the bad stuff, was I surprised when I got an acute gum infection and the X-ray showed bone loss. In my research I came across anti cavity candies called Loloz that you eat twice a day for 10 days every six months or so.

  13. “Looks like you’re gonna have to go the whole tomato…” lol, why do I love that?

    Well thankfully I’ve never had any gum disease but I can say that before going vegan and switching to a whole foods orientated diet, I used to bleed somewhat when I flossed but figured and was told it was normal (like that’s supposed to mean it’s healthy lol) and now I never do—not during flossing or dental cleanings or anything… if my mouth is bleeding, I bit my tongue or something. And the dental hygienist always compliments my gums, it’s horribly flattering.

    1. “in the dental health video the picture of the theeth and gum seems the same but zoomed!”
      ——————————————————————————————————-
      Probably the photos were taken from stock footage and may not have been able to find better examples.

    1. No time to read the article ATM, but I agree that exercise causes increased metabolism which in turn means our telomeres are getting shorter, sooner.

      Just enough exercise to keep toned is a better regimen in my opinion.

    2. The link isn’t working for me right now, I think it’s my browser. But I don’t think I agree with that… one of the clearest signs of shortened telomeres are skin and hair quality, every fitness instructor in their late 40s and up (decades up) that I’ve seen look incredibly youthful. From my experience and observation, the more physically fit a person is, the overall healthier they are and appear to be (when I say they are, I’m going by those I know whose internal health status I’m more aware of). I’m sure pushing yourself to the point where you’re not letting yourself heal and you’re not being smart about it and constantly causing injury is a different story. In general, while exercise causes stress to the body, it’s healthy stress that actually helps your body respond better to everyday stresses and even boosts your body’s ability to use antioxidants (through foods, not supplements which can negate benefits) as seen in at least a couple different videos on this site. It’s also great for hormonal balance. Exercising to the point of exhaustion gives you a boost in serotonin and apart from all the reasons serotonin is awesome for us, it actually acts as an antioxidant in our body! So does melatonin.

      1. S said:

        one of the clearest signs of shortened telomeres are skin and hair quality, every fitness instructor in their late 40s and up (decades up) that I’ve seen look incredibly youthful.
        ————————————————————————————————————-
        Actually the clearest sign of shortened telomeres is found under the microscope. Not sure if we can equate looks to telomere length, or lack of due to accelerated cell division.

        1. Lonie, I was referring to ATTAINABLY clear of course, not just by scientists fully equipped to measure a person’s telomeres. Appearance is absolutely related to telomere length, profoundly so. Elizabeth Blackburn is an expert on telomeres–she is brilliant, I love her. Anyways, she explained in the speech I watched of hers (thanks to someone posting it under one of the videos on this site some months ago) a little bit about them and how graying hairs, etc. is a sign of shorted, frayed telomeres. I mean ok, to summarize how it effects our outside appearance, telomeres are the things that are responsible for new cell turnover, the shorter and more frayed, the crappier our new cells… the longer and healthier our telomeres, the better our cells. We can regrow telomeres with a plant based diet, meditation and probably mood and attitude in general, I know that a more empowered, positive attitude towards stressful situations has been proven to protect against damage to our telomeres. So they’re basically like our lifeline to put it lightly… amazing things. So you could have damaged telomeres, regrow them through diet and lifestyle changes and suddenly your cells are coming back “younger” than before.. that’s literally reversal of aging.

          1. S, I think you are accepting as fact, something that someone you believe to be brilliant may not quite have a handle on. I get it that we sometimes latch on to a person’s charisma and from that point on accept everything they say as being fact. And I’m sure Ms Blackburn is knowledgeable but it sounds like she is making a connection that may not have a scientific basis.

            Counterpoint: Regrowing telomeres is not as easy as she makes it sound. Cancer on the other hand is very good at telomere preservation. That’s one reason it is so hard to kill cancer… because the cells become immortal due to telomere preservation. There’s actually a company with a drug in trial as I speak that hopes to kill cancer by blocking telomerease so the cancer cells will die. There’s others who are trying to do the opposite, that is, cause telomere’s to re-grow without causing cancer.

            The following link is a pretty long YouTube watch but I think it’s the one (haven’t watched it in awhile) that I’ve saved that deals with telomeres if you are interested in learning more.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3032&v=Owx2-jzgJHQ

            I really hope your guru is right about being able to safely restore telomere length via food, but I’m going to stick with my guru until proven that his approach isn’t the safest.

            1. Lonie… do you even know who I’m talking about? You couldn’t possibly based on your comment but you should have googled her before going on a sort of tangent. I’m talking about a renowned biologist who won a nobel prize for her discoveries specific to telomeres. Lol, charismatic as she may be, this woman is a brilliant scientist and an expert on telomeres.
              Dr. Greger also talks about telomeres and the evidence of their regrowth from consumption of whole plant foods in the beginning of his book “How Not To Die” and has a video about them here somewhere.
              Here’s a speech of hers I highly recommend: https://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_blackburn_the_science_of_cells_that_never_get_old?language=en

              Your comment about latching onto a person and accepting everything they say is bizarrely misplaced and seems to be some kind of attempt at a psychological analysis with zero grounds other than your own imagining about a person. Like concluding from a math problem “if Jimmy has some gumballs and gives some to Chris, how many gumballs does Jimmy have left?” that Jimmy has 3 gumballs… it’s like, what? I’m not seeing the sense in it and the presumptuousness is annoying and it’s also a demeaning accusation and therefore offensive as is referring to a renowned biologist responsible for groundbreaking discoveries on the subject at hand, my “guru.” I’m smart enough to learn form those who clearly know what they’re talking about and smart enough to recognize that they do.

          2. S, I said: I really hope your guru is right about being able to safely restore telomere length via food, but I’m going to stick with my guru until proven that his approach isn’t the safest.
            —————————————————————————————————–
            But after checking into my treasure trove of saved data, I ran across a piece about restoring senescent cells I posted in a comments section here on NF.o but forgot it mentioned a way to regrow telomeres safely from a supplement, which I guess passes as a food.

            The supplement is resveratrol. Maybe that is what Elizabeth Blackburn was referring to. I’ll post a link to a summary and another one to a very detailed abstract for anyone wanting to read it.

            The summary: https://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/research/title_620529_en.html

            The detailed study: https://bmccellbiol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12860-017-0147-7

            1. No, it wasn’t resveratrol that I was referring to and the regrowth of telomeres from whole plant based diets or the consumption of more whole plant foods was actually information I first gathered from Dr. Greger in the beginning of “How Not To Die.” I haven’t yet delved into all that Elizabeth Blackburn has to say about telomeres, but a read a bit and watched the above posted speech. She talked about how mentality and our telmoeres. Dr. Greger has a video on here about meditation and telomeres as well. Thanks for the links, I’ll check them out when it’s not so late.

              1. Like you, kinda swamped ATM. Will watch the Ted talk when time permits. Just curious… when did she receive her nobel prize? Reason I ask is because in this exponential world we live in, what was news yesterday is often displaced by the new news of today. Anyway, just know that I accept that telomeres can be regrown either through chemicals or possibly, foods… or a combination of both. ‘-)

                1. Totally get the time thing! I do think you’ll really like her speech though, so when you can, I think you’ll be glad you watched.

                  I wasn’t sure when, I just did a quick google search and read that she received her nobel prize in 2009… not too shabby!

      2. S said, “In general, while exercise causes stress to the body, it’s healthy stress that actually helps your body respond better to everyday stresses and even boosts your body’s ability to use antioxidants…”
        ———————————
        Also, variations in stress patterns– walking, then running in a brief, intense sprint, then walking again– superbly mimics what our worthy ancestors did on a daily basis as they “went out fo lunch”. They always had to chase down what they ate, or forage enough to satisfy hunger, and either way, working for their meals. Therefore, it makes sense our bodies have adapted to such regular but varied exercise, and thrive on it..

        At the other end of the exercise intensity scale are not only aerobics extremists, but iron-men and many marathoners who suffer low-grade illnesses (colds) as they ramp up their training intensity before an event. While coming down after a race, a similar effect often happens with immune response, as their bodies “let down” after such great exertion. The consensus of many trainers is the modest, regular but varied exercise is the best prescription for general health and immunity on a long-term basis.

  14. Dr. Greger,

    Would sun-dried tomatoes (not the oil-packed, either dry or with sulfur dioxide preservative) work as well or better than tomato paste? Sun-dried tomatoes seem like a very concentrated source of lycopene since it takes a few pounds of tomatoes to make just ounces of sun-dried tomatoes. Thanks!

    1. Carloss, you may be on to something but until clarified by a comparison study, I would stick to the tomato paste.

      Well, in my case I choose a V-8 juice + extra tomato juice added instead of tomato paste. I keep a jar in the fridge and stop by and drink some throughout the day. But if I had neither the V-8 + extra tomato juice or the tomato paste at hand, I would surely consume the sun dried tomatos.

      Just had a thought… tomato paste is made from plum tomatos such as the Roma variety… I wonder if the sun dried or the V-8 juice is made from eating tomatos? I’m sure the content of different nutrients is different due to the thickness of the meat and smaller seed cavity of the Plum-type tomatos.

  15. This video is one of Dr. Greger’s best, and most clearly focused on our daily questions about dental health. For most, gingivitis and periodontitis will appear as if by magic if we let ourselves slip on a few occasions with flossing and brushing. Not only is daily care difficult to do on the road (avoiding public restrooms, etc.), but it is tough even while sitting behind an office desk. The question I always have asked over the years is how the ancients often had perfect teeth, despite having to grind coarse grain with their teeth, and never stopping to floss or brush.

    In the fullness of time, Dr. Greger brought the answer– a study which shows both berries and (whole) cereal grain phytosterols and anti-oxidants have a dramatically beneficial effect on gum health. So, if we consume even a modest daily serving of dietary anti-oxidants, we can worry less about specifics like vitamin C intake. A simple tomato may be all we need. (If Mexican tomatoes are in short supply this winter, the lycopene capsules come into play, providing as much lycopene or more).

  16. I’m so glad to see a video about a health problem you might get, even while eating a whole plant based diet! You might be at a low risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis,…but still be at risk for gum disease and tooth loss. Especially if you live longer due to lack of other problems!
    I’m going to be eating more tomatoes and tomato products now!

    1. I don’t know Dave, my oral health has been exceptional since gong WFPB. I even had a cavity heal itself and my gums improved drastically. I’m not saying you couldn’t suffer from oral health issues on a WFPB diet, but I would include it as one of the things that a WFPB diet improves or is capable of improving.

  17. Very confused, since Lycopene is credited with great results (only if from tomatoes). Yet Tomato paste is an intense source of Lycopene and has no benefit in the charts presented. How can this be explained?

  18. I do remember being astonished after I had switched to WFPB from SAD, that in the morning my teeth did not not feel covered in moss like they always had in the morning before. (I brushed morning and night at that time – and the “moss” was always a motivator to get to that tooth brush ASAP!)

  19. So how much tomato juice a day should we be drinking & does it help if using a straw? I can only find tomato juice with salt here which is difficult enough to find in stores

  20. Hello E, thanks for your comment.

    According to Dr. Greger’s video and the research done, just one whole tomato a day will help to treat periodontal disease. I guess tha using a straw will help as well.

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