Monday, February 25, 2008

Diet, Diabetes, and Gum Disease

Brushing and flossing are generally thought to be the only way to prevent gum disease, and a home remedy always seemed out of the question. From Kyushu Unviersity in Japan, however, comes a series of studies understanding the importance of inflammation in type 1 diabetes and showing the importance of making the right choices in food and drink to avoid periodontal infections in both type 1's and type 2's.

In the most recent study, the research team of Dr. Yoshihiro Shimazaki and his colleagues found that people with advanced periodontal disease tended to consume fewer lactic-acid rich foods than people with healthy gums.

Lactic acid foods include yogurt, yogurt drinks, buttermilk, leban, koumiss, cottage cheese, sauerkraut, wheat beers, rye bread, and sourdough bread, especially sourdough rye. When the Japanese researchers made allowances for age, gender, frequency of brushing teeth, use of floss, smoking, alcohol intake, high cholesterol, and diabetes, they found that exposing the gums to probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus seemed to discourage the growth of tissue-damaging germs in the gums.

The gums were protected by eating the equivalent of a quarter-cup (about 60 g) of yogurt a day. Consuming milk and cheese did not protect against gum disease.

Earlier releases of this ongoing study also found that people who drink more than 1 oz of alcohol a day (the amount of alcohol in a jigger of whiskey or a tall beer) run about a 3-fold greater risk of developing advanced periodontal disease. Moreover, people with pockets of gum infection deeper than 2 mm (a little less than one-tenth of an inch) were 60 per cent more likely to develop irregularities of heart rhythm on EKG suggesting heart disease.

And a study at the University of Michigan also found that gum disease can aggravate diabetes, although the link is easy to break. People who experience pain with eating tend to eat soft foods, such as potatoes, puddings, ice cream, and white bread, and to get their calories from fruit juices, milk, and cola. The added glycemic burden makes it harder to control blood sugars.

Similarly bad results have been found from eating dark chocolate. Although there are many conditions that may benefit from the antioxidants abundant in dark chocolate, gingivitis isn't one of them. Studies of chocolate factory workers who eat on the job have found that 75 per cent have gum disease.

You may also be interested in:

The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Diabetics
Effects of High Blood Sugars on the Immune System
Dieters: Can You Eat All the Foods You Love and Still Lose Weight?
How Teens with Type 2 Diabetes Can Lose Fat and Gain Muscle
When It's Better for Diabetics to Be Couch Potatoes
Are Sugar-Free Candies and Deserts for Diabetics Really Sugar-Free (And What to Do When They Are Not)
Is an All-Natural Way to Cleanse the Colon Good for Diabetics?
What Doctors Don't Tell Diabetics About Fats and Carbs
What Doctors Don't Tell Diabetics About LDL Numbers
Can Drinking Decaf Speciality Coffee Prevent Diabetes?
What's This About Caffeine Raising Blood Sugar Levels?
A New Ayurvedic Herb for Diabetes?
Have Scientists Discovered a Diabetic Fat-Burner?
Vinegar for Type II Diabetes
Reduce Risk of Diabetes by Eating Veggies
Chromium for Diabetes
Vitamin C for Diabetes
Vitamin D for Diabetes
Vitamin E for Diabetes
Vitamin E for Diabetes: How Much Is Too Much?


Shimazaki Y, Shirota T, Uchida K, Yonemoto K, Kiyohara Y, Iida M, Saito T, Yamashita Y. Intake of dairy products and periodontal disease: the Hisayama Study. J Periodontol. 2008 Jan;79(1).


  1. Great post, it re-enforces me eating yogurt both for my teeth and my digestive system. I'd be interested to know what you think of Cuprident to prevent gum disease , a client of we web host. My boss swears by their products ever since they helped fight off her mouth sores when she had cancer. I have noticed that since I started using the oral rinse that my mouth feels cleaner in the morning.

  2. It's like the makers of Cuprident say, using is believing.

    I have to admit this product fell off my radar screen, but the theory behind the formula is sound. The thing about this particular product is, the same as less effective toothpaste, you do have to use it regularly to keep getting the benefits. And while its usefulness is stopping the buildup of plaque between brushings (and some people with mouth sores really can't brush as often as they'd like), it will of course work just a little better if you can brush every time you eat. Just a little, because the research suggests it can stop almost all buildup of plaque, although the effects stop 48 hours after use.

    Thanks for pointing this out, and please feel free to follow-up.