handful of blueberries

Could Wild Blueberries Help You Heal Your Gums?

handful of blueberriesNew research out of Canada suggests yes – at least, compounds found in the berry may be beneficial.

Now, if you have gum disease – and most Americans do – what matters most is healing. Gum disease is a disease of inflammation. It’s also a disease linked to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other systemic conditions.

Controlling the bacteria and other microbes involved in these conditions – controlling periopathogens – is key to healing. It’s why we keep reminding you to floss, as well as brush. Hygiene, along with diet, matters.

But back to those blueberries.

The study – published last year in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry – showed that blueberry polyphenols help fight the bacteria associated with gum disease.They also appeared to block a molecular pathway involved with inflammation.

This dual antibacterial and anti-inflammatory action of lowbush blueberry polyphenols “suggests that they may be promising candidates for novel therapeutic agents.”

Eat with Purpose

But why wait for others to develop new “therapeutic agents” to take advantage? Dietary choices that include foods with antimicrobial components are good decisions you can make right now.

This paper in Clinical Microbiology Reviews gives a great, comprehensive overview of helpful compounds in plants, as well as lists of foods you may want to incorporate into your diet.

That said, it’s important to remember that simply eating a lot of wild blueberries – or any other potential “superfood” – isn’t enough on its own to counter gum disease. If you’re still doing things that raise your risk, all the blueberries in the world won’t help.

We’re Working with Whole Human Beings Here

Your body’s natural inclination is to heal, but to do so, it must have the right tools for the repairs needed. Antimicrobial foods and products are one tool.

But it’s the whole diet that matters. And hygiene. And tobacco/drug use. And exercise. And sleep. And stress. All these affect the state of your oral health.

More, different stages of disease – from from gingivitis to periodontitis – have different treatment protocols. But even protocols are not cookie-cutter formulas. There’s no one-size-fits-all.

Individuals vary, so treatment should vary accordingly. Good communication regarding your daily habits provides us with the clues needed to identify contributing factors for gum disease. These clues also give us insight into how best to personalize treatment to your body’s unique healing capability.

Appropriate periodontal therapy and effective home care go a long way in reversing gum disease. And while eating health supporting foods, or utilizing new products can be a tasty and beneficial accompaniment to your good health, there’s more to it than just that.

Image by PAULO, via Flickr