Life Extension Update Exclusive
The 35th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research held in Orlando, Florida this year was the site of a presentation on March 10 by researchers from Laval University in Quebec on the finding that polyphenols, which are antioxidant compounds found in red wine, grape seeds, cranberries and other plant foods, can help prevent and treat periodontitis. Periodontitis is an infectious, inflammatory disease of the gums and bone surrounding the teeth that can lead to loose teeth and tooth loss. Approximately 65 percent of adults over the age of 50 are affected by the disease.
Laval researchers V. Houde, D. Grenier and S. Chandad investigated the effect of polyphenols, including some from red wine, on scavenging free radicals generated by immune cells stimulated with lipopolysaccharides from the bacteria that cause periodontal disease. These free radicals, along with nitric oxide, may be involved in tissue and bone destruction.
They found that macrophages treated with bacterial lipopolysaccharides generated a significant amount of nitric oxide and free radicals compared to untreated cells. Pretreatment with polyphenols from grape seed extract reduced nitric oxide by 60 percent and free radicals by 40 percent. Treatment with the polyphenol epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG, which is abundant in green tea) inhibited nitric oxide by 37% and free radicals by 44%.
Doctors Grenier and Chandad collaborated with C. Bodet on another study published in the March, 2006 issue of the Journal of Dental Research which found that cranberry constituents helped inhibit the inflammatory response induced by periodontal disease bacteria.
In their abstract summarizing the current study, the authors conclude, “ Our findings demonstrate that red wine polyphenols have potent antioxidant properties, supporting the hypothesis of beneficial effects of red wine in oxidative stress mediated by periodontogenic bacteria.”
Periodontitis and cavities:
Periodontal diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are inflammatory diseases that affect the supporting structures that anchor the teeth in place (periodontium). Gingivitis and periodontitis are related conditions: if left untreated, gingivitis, or inflammation of the gingival tissue (gums), can progress to periodontitis, a more serious condition. Gingivitis is a treatable and reversible condition, while periodontitis is an irreversible condition that can lead to tooth loss.
Avoid behaviors that contribute to gum disease and tooth decay, especially tobacco use and consumption of refined sugar. Instead, focus on consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables that provide important phytochemicals and nutrients. In addition, patients with gum disease and existing heart disease should monitor their levels of inflammation. C-reactive protein and homocysteine are both indicators of inflammation, which can be determined by blood test.
In addition, a number of nutrients have been shown to improve oral health, including:
Coenzyme Q10 —100 milligrams (mg) daily
Folic acid —400 micrograms (mcg) to 800 mcg daily
Green tea extract —725 mg daily (93 percent polyphenols)
Vitamin C —2 to 4 grams (g) a day (taken as 500 mg every few hours)
Calcium —1200 mg to 1500 mg daily
Vitamin D —800 mg to 1000 mg daily
Omega-3 fatty acids —Up to 3000 mg daily of EPA/DHA
Christopher Wiechert's Healthblogger is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. If you decide to use this information on your own, it's your constitutional right, but I assume no responsibility.
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