- COVID-19 slows the absorption of essential nutrients leading to malnutrition, and poor oral health
- Due to the pandemic, more people reach out to healthcare professionals for preventive home care for a strong immune system to maintain good oral and overall body health
- Dental nutraceuticals combining nutrition and pharmaceuticals in the form of food material help strengthen the bones and teeth
With COVID-19 pandemic lingering for the past year, keeping a strong immune system is more important than ever. However, studies reveal that a large portion of Americans fall short of the necessary requirements of essential nutrients from food alone. These malnourished patients will never obtain great oral health despite good dental hygiene practices.
Home care routine using dental nutraceuticals suggested by dentists and hygienists help improve oral hygiene. Patients on dental nutraceuticals reported improvements in healing time after invasive treatments and less bleeding and lower pocket depth scores on recare visits.
What is nutraceutical?'Nutraceutical' term coined in 1989 by Stephen De Feliceis is defined as a substance that may be considered a food or part of food that provides medical or health benefits, encompassing prevention and treatment of disease.
Adouble-blind study at Loma Linda University published in Compendium describes the effects of incorporating the nutraceutical Periotherapy by Pharmaden Nutraceuticals in 63 patients with 4- to 7-mm pockets after 60 days resulted in reduced average pocket depth by 1.37 mm; the bleeding and plaque indices were also significantly proving that Periotherapy nutraceutical offers patients a non-invasive, systemic adjunct to treatment without changing their home care routines.
Role of Nutraceuticals in Dental TreatmentThe root cause of gum disease lies in poor nutritional support due to an overall weakened immune system. Hence, there is a greater need to meet the nutritional requirement of the oral cavity when recovering from dental treatment.
Before nutraceuticals, the only systemic care a patient would receive would be antibiotics targeting the release of the enzyme collagenase but the scope of antibiotics is less as usage of antibiotics damages the immune system and nutraceuticals inhibit the release of multiple enzymes, including collagenase that effectively prevents further plaque build-up, strengthens the immune system of the host and enhances soft tissue healing.
Top Micronutrient-Rich Foods to Boost Dental Health
- Calcium - leafy greens, almonds, sardines, oysters, and most dairy products like milk and yogurt.
- Magnesium - dried beans and legumes (such as soybeans, baked beans, lentils, and peanuts) and nuts (such as almonds and cashews).
- Potassium - healthy potassium sources include bananas, avocados, leafy greens, milk, and cheese.
- Resveratrol - known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, resveratrol-rich foods include red grapes, peanuts blueberries, cranberries.
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) - more common sources of Vitamin C include citrus fruits like lemons and limes, peppers, oranges, kale, berries, and sweet potatoes.
- Vitamin D - best sources of Vitamin D include natural sunlight and enriched dairy products like milk and yogurt. Even sitting in the sun for 15 minutes a day is enough to soak up an adequate amount of Vitamin D.
- Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) - most common sources to obtain Vitamin E include wheat germ, vegetable oil, seeds and nuts, fish, and avocados.
- Vitamin K2 (MK7) - found in dairy, fermented foods, and animal products.
- Iron - best source of iron is in red meats, but you can also obtain it through bread, cereals, and eggs.
- Vitamin A - most common food sources that contain Vitamin A include sweet potatoes, yams, peppers, kale, egg yolks, and fish.
- B Vitamins - some of the most common food sources for niacin and riboflavin include almonds, spinach, legumes, red meats, and dairy products.
Still, we must always consult the physician before taking an antibiotic or a supplement, as nutraceuticals are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
- Oral Health and COVID-19: Increasing the Need for Prevention and Access - (https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2020/20_0266.htm)
- Oral health: A window to your overall health - (https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475)
- Public Oral Health Care During COVID-19: Time for Reflection and Action - (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmed.2021.610450/full)
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