Healthy plant-based diets could reduce risk of gum disease

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Scientists from Southern Medical University and elsewhere found that eating a healthy plant-based diet could help reduce the risk of gum disease.

Periodontal diseases are mainly the result of infections and inflammation of the gums and bones that surround and support the teeth.

In its early stage, called gingivitis, the gums can become swollen and red, and they may bleed.

In its more serious form, called periodontitis, the gums can pull away from the tooth, bone can be lost, and the teeth may loosen or even fall out.

Periodontal disease is mostly seen in adults. Periodontal disease and tooth decay are the two biggest threats to dental health.

In the current study, researchers aimed to examine the link between plant-based diet indices (PDIs) and gum disease and antibodies against gum disease in the U.S. population.

They analyzed data from 5651 people 40 years of age and older from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

A food frequency questionnaire was used to calculate the overall PDI, healthy plant-based diet index (hPDI), and unhealthy plant-based diet index (uPDI).

Gum disease (periodontitis) was defined using a half-reduced Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Periodontology case definition.

The team found a total of 2841 (50.3%) participants had moderate/severe gum disease.

The overall plant-based diet score was not strongly linked to the risk of periodontitis.

But the team found an inverse association between the healthy plant-based diet score and the risk of gum disease.

In contrast, a higher unhealthy plant-based diet score might increase the risk of gum disease.

Regarding antibodies against gum disease, the team found the healthy plant-based diet score was positively linked to the antibodies.

In contrast, there was an inverse link between the unhealthy plant-based diet score and antibody levels.

Based on the findings, the team concludes that plant-based diets are linked to gum disease, depending on their quality.

A healthy plant-based diet is related to a lower risk of gum disease and positively related to elevated antibody levels against gum disease.

An unhealthy plant-based diet may increase the risk of gum disease and reduce antibodies against the disease.

The research was published in The Journal of Clinical Periodontology and conducted by An Li et al.

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