The Most Important Supplements To Heal Gum Disease

When treating gum disease you must give it the same attention as you would any medical diagnoses.

Remember, gum health is whole health. Seldom will you find a dental professional willing to discuss what supplements you need for your gum health. Usually, the script goes something like this, “We can try deep cleanings first, but we may need to send you off to the periodontist.” Your hygienist will most certainly insist on your home-care routine. They will tell you to use a battery brush and urge you to floss, see my blog Flossing and Everything In Between.

However, when healing reversible gum disease, there is an entire picture of nutrition, lifestyle, and gum assisting supplements which should be addressed. To heal gum disease it needs to be treated like any other medical diagnoses where you would consider all options and all of your attention. Even when you do not have obvious symptoms of gum disease, which are often covert, if your hygienist warns you of gingivitis, take it seriously!

We now know how many diseases are linked to the P. gingivalis bacteria which causes gum disease, see my blog New Study: Gingivitis Causes Alzheimer’s. Currently, we know of over 500 different forms of bacteria living in the mouth. 25% of all healthy mouths have P. gingivalis which are lying dormant. Supplements can encourage the growth of healthy bacteria while helping your resistance to the gingivitis causing bacteria.

The bottom line is home-care cannot be ignored as the number one component in reversing gum disease. When you take supplements for your gums to speed up the healing process you also support other tissue in your body with inflammation.

The Most Important Supplements to Heal Gum Disease

  • CoQ10 is a heavily studied supplement to be considered as a bio-energizer in periodontal disease. It’s a powerful antioxidant which mediates inflammation in tissue throughout our body.
  • Vitamin K and Vitamin D work interdependently. Vitamin K is a potent vitamin against gum disease and if you have a deficiency it can cause bleeding gums. You would need to be sure your vitamin D levels are adequate first before you supplement with vitamin K to repair your gums.
  • Grape Seed Extract is 20-50 times more potent as an antioxidant than Vitamin C! While it heals your gums it also prevents the biofilm of plaque which causes gum disease.
  • Quercetin is a flavonoid which is found in fruits and vegetables. When taken as a supplement it’s synergistic with the grape seed extract and becomes a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Click to image to order Grape Seed Extract

Out of the many supplements on the market, in order for you to not be overwhelmed, I have narrowed them down to the best possible ones for your gums. Throughout my years as a hygienist, I have noticed a correlation between those who have a general high level of self care and healthy mouths. Making the decision to take supplements to heal your mouth is a step toward whole health.

Click image to order Quercetin

*This blog contains affiliate links for products Ask My Hygienist carefully recommends based on professional experience or personal use. These suggestions are to assist you in your quest for better oral health, and in turn, you're assisting our blog with the small commission we receive from your purchase.

NEW STUDY: GINGIVITIS CAUSES ALZHEIMER’S

The same bacteria, P. Gingivalis, which causes gum disease, can be found in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s.

My dear friend Gary Glazner, founder of the well established Alzheimer’s Poetry Project gave me a beautiful opportunity to be in the presence of those suffering from memory loss. It was extremely rewarding for me to volunteer using poetry to engage these institutionalized individuals. I experienced highs, many of which were when my young daughter accompanied me where she sparked joy in the patients, and lows from witnessing deterioration or when someone I grew fond of had passed.

One of my favorite stories was when I brought my daughter to an Alzheimer’s home on a summer afternoon. I came prepared with the theme “Fourth of July,” for our poetry call and response, where we call out lines of pertaining poems and the group repeats back to us. Eventually, we work the room to write a group poem, and our goal that day was to write about Independence Day. For some reason, this particular session wasn’t going well with low engagement and low energy; we hardly wrote a poem. My daughter Willa and I looked at each other in defeat and ended early. As we were exiting the main doors to leave I heard a faint singing, and asked Willa “Do you hear that?” We both let out the biggest smiles as the lyrics to America The Beautiful amplified into a group chorus.

Little did I know the reward I received in working with the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project would be a portent to my responsibility as a hygienist to emphasize the prevention of gingivitis as a possible deterrent to Alzheimer’s disease.

Science Advances has recently published a study finding the same periodontal disease microbe P. Gingivalis found in the oral cavity of humans can be found in the brain of those with alzheimer’s disease (AD). Furthermore, the P. gingivalis antigen gingipains were found in AD brains which are toxic and effect neuro function. They began with a study over a 6 month period observing AD patients with chronic periodontal disease as well as those without perio disease and discovered a notable decline in cognition for those with AD accompanied by periodontal disease.

The study introduced P. gingivalis into the oral cavities of mice for 6 weeks to create infection. Their brains were then studied and P. gingivalis along with gingipains were found. When an experimental gingipain inhibitor drug was given it resulted in the reduction of brain infection and inflammation by reducing the P. gingivalis and also encouraged new neurons in the hippocampus, the first place to be damaged in the brain with AD. This drug is currently being tested in human clinical studies with those diagnosed with AD.

Some scientists claim P. gingivalis is a contributing factor to AD but are not convinced this microbe is the sole cause of the disease. The study also found a strain of P. gingivalis in spinal fluid and stated further research was needed to understand the different strains of this bacteria and the virulency they have in the brain.

Interesting to note; the other gingipain producing bacteria, P. gulae, naturally lives in dog’s mouths and have been found in the mouths of their owners. Research is currently underway to discover if P. gulae has a role in AD.

There is no doubt we have a lot to learn about bacteria and a long way to go in discovering all the different microbes that exist in the human body. Until recently,  it was believed we were made up of more bacterial cells than human cells, but now bacterial cells are thought to be equal to human cells, yet we still don’t understand the many roles they have, both healthy and destructive.

P. gingivalis is found in 25% of all healthy mouths and this is why I always emphasize how crucial it is to maintain healthy bacteria in the mouth which aids in the resistance to potentially destructive bacteria. When I discuss dental products it’s always with suggestions to use the least disruptive to your healthy flora and to recognize what assists in a neutral or non-acidic PH which discourages the overgrowth of periodontal disease bacteria.

The migration of P. gingivalis into a variety of tissue is already well known:

Coronary Arteries – studies have shown 100% of patients with cardiovascular disease had P. gingivalis in their arteries.

The Placenta – causing low birth weight in babies.

The Liver – affects glycogen synthesis.


My role as a hygienist is to encourage you to have a healthy, non-infected mouth to prevent the many diseases we know of and the ones yet to be discovered. Alzheimer’s disease is well on its way to being linked to gingivitis bacteria, to what extent is yet to be known. A healthy mouth is a mirror to a healthy body. I like to think of it this way: Good dental habits are one of the easiest things most people can be in control of when so many other disease-causing factors are at play which are beyond our control. Do everything you possibly can to empower your overall health by seeking knowledge and treating your body as well as you can.


The Up-Sell Of Adult Fluoride Varnish

Find out of you really need a fluoride treatment every time you get your teeth cleaned.

There are offices, many of which are corporations, which insist on their hygienists applying fluoride varnish after every cleaning, no matter the patient’s age or need. These offices pressure the practice of fluoride varnish as a routine service, conforming the practitioner into a non-discretionary employee, which can be very intimidating to uninformed patients. Many of you have experienced the offering of fluoride varnish and have submitted due to the discomfort level of your questioning it. There are dental offices banking on your allowing them to do a fluoride varnish application, and they remember you as an easy patient who allows them to perform whatever services are suggested.

Sounds harsh, but it’s true. Fluoride varnish is touted by sales reps and dental consultation companies as a quick and easy add on to increase sales. The typical varnish costs a dental office about .50-.65 cents a dose and only takes the hygienist less than two minutes to apply. Your charge is anywhere from $25-$40 and it comes right out of your pocket because insurance companies don’t cover adult fluoride treatments. Then, if a hygienist is really good at upselling, especially when bonuses are attached to daily production, they may even try to sell you a prescription strength fluoride paste to take home, regardless of the last time you had a cavity.

You are Profit in the Chair, Not a Person in the Chair

My skin is crawling writing this because I have experienced the type of dental office where you are profit in the chair, not a person in the chair. Needless to say, I didn’t last long, however, I gained enough insight to pass information on to you. It is very rare for an adult to need a fluoride application for the purpose of decay prevention. If an adult is experiencing decay, it’s crucial to explore the reasons, and then apply far more reaching solutions than a fluoride varnish. Your daily dental habits at home are far more effective in prevention than anything performed at a dental office. I must repeat: There is nothing more important than what you yourself can manage at home to maintain your oral health.

If an adult is experiencing decay, fluoride is not the answer. Addressing the cause of the decay is the answer whether it be dry mouth or a health issue, all of which have alternatives to fluoride for treatment. Remember, things like fluoride varnish and prescription take-home pastes have high amounts of fluoride which can be absorbed into your bloodstream and distributed throughout your entire body without it ever exiting completely as waste.

Besides decay, generalized teeth sensitivity could be an argument for a fluoride varnish treatment, but oh the irony. It would be negligent to not discuss the causes of sensitivity, as sometimes it’s the fluoride toothpaste filled with chemicals which make teeth sensitive, see my blog The Truthpaste of Toothpaste. Generalized sensitivity is usually from the deprivation of healthy mineral absorption of the teeth or if mouth PH is too acidic, which a fluoride varnish treatment will completely breeze right over.

The offices I’ve worked at have been using MI Paste for years as an alternative to take-home fluoride pastes which are used for decay prevention and sensitivity. They do make one, MI Paste Plus with fluoride, but I don’t choose that one as the fluoride is superfluous to the active ingredient of Recaldent which remineralizes tooth enamel as well as prevents decay. The Recaldent is made from milk peptides and bonds to the calcium and phosphate (naturally occurring in saliva) ingredients to bind them to the enamel. The paste also neutralizes acids to restore mouth PH. MI Paste cannot be used for anyone with a milk protein allergy but it’s a great alternative to fluoride, although, it must be purchased through a dental office.

If you are truly diagnosed with new adult decay, forgo the fluoride varnish treatment, and instead, save your money to purchase some MI Paste. However, I am not one hundred percent in love with MI Paste, as it contains chemicals such as the preservative benzoate, which many people can be sensitive to.

You can be completely independent in preventing and remineralizing adult decay by using pastes with the bioidentical minerals of nano-hydroxyapatite, of which many countries such as Japan and Europe are way ahead of us. Nano-hydroxyapatite is a crystalline calcium phosphate derived from bone and is almost identical to the hydroxyapatite of our teeth. It directly replaces lost minerals and restores enamel to its original form without any toxic or harmful side effects as it’s in itself edible. Unlike fluoride, while these pastes strengthen your teeth, they also create a uniform color of translucent white making them healthy looking as well. If you are using a nano-hydroxyapatite toothpaste at home, you most certainly can forgo a fluoride varnish treatment at the dental office.

Click image to order remineralizing toothgel by CariFree

Obviously, if at your dental visit you have no decay, they really can’t intimidate you with their sales talk on fluoride varnish; with confidence you can say, “No thanks.” If you’re experiencing new decay, thank them for finding it but forgo the varnish, and let your hygienist know you’d rather spend the money on taking some MI Paste home. Better yet, you can be the one educating your fluoride convinced dental team when you tell them, “I’ll be using my nano-hydroxyapatite paste!” Say that three times.

*This blog contains affiliate links for products Ask My Hygienist carefully recommends based on professional experience or personal use. These suggestions are to assist you in your quest for better oral health, and in turn, you're assisting our blog with the small commission we receive from your purchase.