Vitamin D cut cavity risk, lycopene promoted healthier teeth and gums, and grape seed extract cut gum disease risk and bad breath, in several new findings.
Vitamin D protects tooth enamel and, in this study, doctors tested the link between vitamin D levels in mothers and tooth decay in their children. Nearly 90 percent of the mothers were low in vitamin D during the fourth month of pregnancy. Researchers examined 135 of their infants at 16 months and found that one in five had damaged enamel and one in three had tooth decay. Mothers of children with tooth decay had significantly lower vitamin D levels than mothers whose children did not have cavities.
In a lycopene study, 20 participants took 8 mg of lycopene per day or a placebo for two weeks with half in each group having their teeth cleaned at the start of the study. Researchers measured plaque, inflammation (gingivitis) and gum bleeding at the start of the study and at one and two weeks. Those in the lycopene group who also had their teeth cleaned had much less plaque, gingivitis and bleeding compared to every other group.
In a lab study, researchers coated dental plaque with the bacteria that cause gum disease and bad breath and then exposed the plaque to grape seed extract. They found the grape seed extract significantly reduced bacteria levels.
International Association for Dental Research; 2008, Keynote Address and Nutrition Research, Toronto, Canada.