According to a poll conducted on the American Academy of Periodontology's web site (AAP), approximately 65 per cent of periodontists report that they believe nutrition plays a major role in the status of their patients' periodontal health.
About three quarters of the periodontists have recommended consuming more vitamin C to patients.
Over 50 per cent of the 135 periodontists polled report that either they or their staffs talk to patients on a regular basis about the role of good nutrition in maintaining good oral health.
"Research has proven that people who consume inadequate amounts of calcium and vitamin C have higher rates of periodontal disease," said Michael McGuire, D.D.S., president of the AAP. "However, many other nutrients likely play a role in maintaining good periodontal health too."
The majority of periodontists recommend calcium supplements and multivitamins for patients who are not getting adequate amounts from their diet. Many patients seem to listen to this advice. In a separate poll of consumers visiting the AAP's Web site, nearly 57 per cent of 477 respondents said they have tried improving their diet to help improve periodontal health.
"I tell them that a well balanced diet is important for the body and subsequently the mouth's health," said one responding periodontist. "I inform my patients that vitamin C is important for tissue health and calcium is important for bone health."
Conversely, some foods are best avoided to maintain good periodontal health. The top culprit chosen by periodontists was popcorn, because the husks can get caught in between the teeth and gums and cause abscesses.
The American Academy of Periodontology is an association of dental professionals specialising in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth and in the placement and maintenance of dental implants.