Research & Education

Gum Health: The Potential Role of CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) has emerged as a promising nutrient to support gum health. Human clinical studies suggest that CoQ10 administration may help to attenuate inflammation of the gums through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and by promoting proper energy production.  

Periodontal diseases, such as gingivitis and periodontitis, affect 60% of young adults and 90% of adults over 65. Gingivitis, a reversible inflammatory reaction, often precedes the onset of periodontitis, a non-reversible inflammatory gum condition that damages the soft tissues around the teeth. Gingival biopsies reveal that 60% to 96% of patients with periodontal diseases have subnormal tissue levels of CoQ10, supporting an association between CoQ10 deficiency and inflammatory gum conditions.

A CoQ10 insufficiency may occur independently or as a result of periodontal diseases. In some patients, a CoQ10 insufficiency that exists at the gingival tissue level due to nutritional causes may be heightened by the progression of periodontal disease. In this case, oral dental treatment and hygiene procedures may help local oral health but do not address subnormal CoQ10 status.

CoQ10 is required for healthy energy production, which supports proper healing and repair of periodontal tissues. Moreover, CoQ10 promotes a homeostatic balance between the body's pro-oxidant and antioxidant defense systems.

In periodontal diseases, a microbial plaque buildup increases inflammatory and immune responses and promotes the overproduction of free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS), which may result in oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is associated with damaged tissues and collagen degradation.

CoQ10 has potent antioxidant properties in the body that may mitigate the overproduction of free radicals and ROS and potentially promote gum and tissue health. In addition to scavenging free radicals and ROS, CoQ10 also helps to regenerate antioxidants in the body, such as vitamin E. CoQ10 may promote the generation of superoxide dismutase (SOD), one of the most critical enzymes in promoting healthy antioxidant status.

Human clinical studies from the last several years have investigated the potential role of CoQ10 administration as an adjunct to scaling and root planning (SRP) by dental health-care professionals. According to a systematic review by Dahiya and colleagues, patients with adjunctive administration of CoQ10 with SRP exhibited longer-lasting beneficial effects and better results when compared to SRP alone. The clinical parameters consisted of plaque index, gingival index, gingival bleeding on probing, and clinical attachment loss.

In addition to supporting gum health in the general population, randomized controlled clinical trials conclude that CoQ10 administration with SRP may be clinically beneficial to diabetic patients (n = 42) and patients who smoke (n = 40) with periodontal diseases. There may be an association between chronic hyperglycemia and periodontal disease, and smoking may increase the risk of periodontal diseases by two-to-six times.

CoQ10, in conjunction with normal oral dental treatment and oral hygiene procedures, may promote certain aspects of oral health. CoQ10 may promote gum health by supporting energy production, healthy inflammatory responses, and antioxidative status.

By Danielle Moyer, MS, CNS, LDN