Nutrition Notes

Micronutrients to Support Periodontal Health

Periodontal health refers to the structures surrounding the teeth including the gums and bones that support the teeth. It is often associated with an inflammatory response and infection.  Periodontal disease may also involve age-related changes, which affects approximately 90% of individuals 65 years of age and older. According to the Centers for Disease Control, periodontal disease is one of the biggest challenges to healthy dentition. Recent research indicates that some micronutrients may support certain aspects of periodontal health. 

Bromelain is a group of enzymes derived from the fruits and stems of pineapples (Ananas comosus). Bromelain has been shown to help support certain aspects of immune function and a healthy inflammatory response. It may also support a healthy response to pathogenic bacteria in the oral cavity. Laboratory studies indicate that bromelain may help inhibit the growth of Pseudomonas gingivalis.

A laboratory study investigated the effects of bromelain on human dental pulp cells in the presence of lipopolysaccharide. Bromelain was shown to help decrease interleukin (IL)β, IL-6, IL-8, intercellular adhesion molecules-1 (ICAM-1), and vascular cell adhesion molecules-1 (VCAM-1). ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 have been shown to promote the inflammatory response in dental pulp. Bromelain was also shown to help inhibit the nuclear factor-kappa B pathway

A randomized controlled trial explored the potential efficacy of supplementation with bromelain on inflammation and edema after wisdom tooth extraction. The study involved 75 individuals between the ages of 15 years and 40 years. Treatment consisted of two periods of daily supplementation with bromelain for 9 days starting the day before surgery. Postoperative swelling was shown to have greater improvement in all treatment groups when compared to a placebo. 

Bromelain may also help support oral hygiene and healthy tooth coloration. A laboratory study assessed the potential whitening effects of bromelain when applied three times daily once per week for 4 weeks on bovine dental discs. It reported that the color change caused by bromelain was greater than the human perceptibility threshold. Bromelain gels showed similar improvement in color index as compared with a gel containing carbamide peroxide.

CoQ10, otherwise known as ubiquinone, may also help support gum health and may promote a healthy response to oxidative stress. It has been shown in studies to help support gum health in response to age‐related changes.

CoQ10 supports cellular health through membrane stabilization, free radical scavenging, and stabilization of calcium‐dependent channels. It also plays a critical role in cellular respiration and adenosine triphosphate generation. Certain deficiencies in CoQ10 have been linked to periodontal disease. Increased concentrations of CoQ10 have been reported in studies to help suppress periodontal inflammation in the presence of diseased gingiva.

More research is needed, particularly in the clinical setting. Research indicates that certain micronutrients, such as bromelain and CoQ10, may support periodontal health. They may also help support antioxidative status, healthy aging, and a healthy inflammatory response.

By Colleen Ambrose, ND, MAT