Research has shown that increasing intake of Vitamin C rich foods can support the management of periodontal disease. A study found that people who ate two grapefruits a day for two weeks showed less bleeding from the gums. This was attributed to an increase in blood levels of Vitamin C, known to promote wound healing and cut damage by unstable free radical molecules.
Researchers compared the plasma Vitamin C levels in nearly 60 subjects with chronic periodontitis (a severe form of gum disease) and 22 healthy subjects. Levels were measured before the test period, and again after a two-week intervention in which each of the periodontitis patients ate two grapefruits daily.
Those taking part in the research were advised not to brush their teeth immediately after consuming the grapefruits. This is because citrus fruits are acidic and can weaken tooth enamel making it susceptible to erosion.
Here is a summary of the findings of the study:
Conclusion: The present results show that periodontitis patients are characterised by plasma Vitamin C levels below the normal range, especially in smokers. The intake of grapefruit leads to an increase in plasma Vitamin C levels and improves sulcus bleeding scores. Longer term studies are necessary to determine whether other periodontal outcomes improve with such supplementation especially in smokers.
- Shows that periodontitis patients, especially smokers, have significantly lower plasma Vitamin C levels than healthy subjects.
- Vitamin C is involved in immunological functions which make it relevant for periodontal therapy and prevention.
- This study shows that the recommendation of Vitamin C rich foods could support the management of periodontal disease.
Staudte H, Sigusch B W, Glockmann E. Grapefruit consumption improves Vitamin C status in periodontitis patients. 2005 British Dental Journal 199, 213 - 217
The average grapefruit contains about 90 to 100 mg of Vitamin C. This is hardly a mega-dose, but many people get less than that amount on a daily basis. Vitamin C can also be found in many fruits and vegetables.
This study highlights another important reason to increase our dietary Vitamin C intake, for dental health and for overall health.