What helps Gingivitis?
• Folic acid taken as a supplement, but even more effectively used topically on your gums as a folic acid mouth rinse, can reduce inflammation and infection. Recommendation: Take 1 mg folic acid per day or swish 1 teaspoon of a 1% folic acid solution in your mouth for 1 minute twice a day. (A 1% solution contains 1 mg folic acid per liquid teaspoon. Your pharmacist would probably need to compound this mixture for you.) Women with gingivitis who also take the birth control pill may need to increase their daily dose of folic acid to 4 grams per day for a period of 60 days.
• Inadequate intake of vitamin C, even when not markedly deficient, may increase your risk of developing gingivitis. Because it is required for the production of collagen (the basic protein building block for the fibrous framework of all tissues), supplementing vitamin C strengthens the weak gum tissues and makes the gum lining surface more resistant to penetration by bacteria. Recommendation: Take a vitamin C supplement that also contains bioflavonoids, which retard plaque growth. Take 4000 to 10,000 mg daily in divided doses.
• A true deficiency of vitamin A is known to predispose one to disease of the gums, including susceptibility to infection, changes in the bone beneath the gums, and the formation of pockets in the gum where infection can more easily set up. Recommendation: Refer to Vitamin A in Section we. If you have gum disease along with other signs of vitamin A deficiency, supplementing with vitamin A may improve your gum health. Remember that your body can store vitamin A, and that makes it possible for you to develop toxicity from taking too much of it. Refer again to the discussion of vitamin A in Section we and refresh your knowledge of the signs of vitamin A toxicity before taking any additional vitamin A. When you are ready to supplement, take 15,000 to 20,000 IU of vitamin A daily. Use the emulsion form for better assimilation and greater safety at high doses. An alternative method that has fewer side effects is to take beta-carotene, the vitamin A relative that your body turns into vitamin A as it needs it. The only remarkable side effect of beta-carotene is the development of an orange color to your palms and soles. Take 25,000 to 50,000 IU of beta-carotene (15 to 30 mg) daily.
• Vitamin E helps to reduce the inflammation (redness and swelling) of gum disease. Recommendation: Take vitamin E as d-alpha-tocopherol succinate in a dose of 200 IU 4 times daily. Bite open the capsule at each dose and distribute the contents over your gums and allow it to absorb undisturbed for 30 minutes. Warning: Vitamin E can cause blood pressure elevations in some people. Begin with only 1 capsule per day. Take your blood pressure after taking this dose for several days. If you see no elevation (average blood pressure remains below 140/90), you may continue to increase by 1 capsule per day, again taking your pressures after several days on the higher dose before moving on.
• Because the gums reside on a base of bone, deficiencies of calcium and magnesium could weaken that foundation and predispose your gums to infection, or at the least hasten the progress of the disease once it has begun. Research tests investigating this theory have not provided a clear-cut answer, but the connection makes sense. Recommendation: Take a combined calcium and magnesium supplement daily providing about 1500 mg calcium and 750 mg magnesium.
• Adding some vitamin D to supplementation with calcium and magnesium may further stall the loss of bone in the jaws of people with periodontal disease, especially those people who have lost their teeth because of chronic infection in their gums. Recommendation: Add vitamin D to your diet by increasing your intake of fortified dairy products, by regular outdoor activity in the sun when weather permits, and by adding approximately 350 USP units per day of vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) to your diet.
• Zinc deficiency may weaken the resistance of your gum tissues to invasion by foreign substances (bacteria). Using a zinc mouth rinse seems to reduce the spread of bacterial-laden plaque. Recommendation: Ask your pharmacist to compound a solution containing 1 mg zinc per milliliter of aqueous solution. Once a day, swish 1 tablespoon of the solution in your mouth for 1 to 2 minutes and then discard the solution. Failing that, dissolve a single 10 mg zinc tablet (or the contents of a capsule) in 2 tablespoons of water and swish the entire volume of the dissolved medication as a dose. To improve the taste, you could use a sugar-free, noncarbonated, fruit-flavored beverage, such as Kool-Aid or Crystal Light.
• Coenzyme Q10 levels in people with gum disease are often low. Supplementation may help to slow down the development of the pockets in the gum that bleed, swell, and create a hiding place for infection. Recommendation: Take 50 mg of coenzyme Q10 twice a day for at least 8 weeks to assess your response. Your dentist or periodontist can measure the depth of pockets before and after you take the supplement to verify improvement.
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