Friday, March 16, 2007

High antioxidant levels are associated with a reduced risk of periodontitis

Periodontitis is an inflammatory disease that affects the supporting tissues of the teeth and is associated with an increased risk of stroke, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease. A new study reveals that increased serum antioxidant concentrations are associated with a reduced risk of periodontitis, even in people who have never smoked.

Periodontitis is an inflammatory condition of the tissue surrounding the teeth which has been linked with an increased risk of stroke, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease. A new report published in the Journal of Nutrition revealed that higher serum antioxidant levels are associated with a reduction in the risk of periodontitis. The current research examined data from 11,480 participants in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), for whom periodontal measurements and serum levels of several antioxidants had been recorded.

These antioxidants included alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, selenium, lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, vitamins A, C and E, and total antioxidant levels. Mild periodentitis was found in 14% of the subjects and 5% had severe disease. Higher vitamin C and total antioxidant levels were associated with a lower incidence of periodontitis, especially with severe disease. Individuals whose vitamin C levels were in the top 20% of participants had a 39% lower risk of periodontitis than participants with the lowest intakes. For subjects who had never smoked, those with the highest intake of vitamin C experienced only half the risk of periodontitis compared to those with the lowest vitamin C levels.

Vitamin C has a role in collagen synthesis and maintenance of connective tissue, which may explain its benefit in protecting against periodontitis. In addition, it is known as a potent antioxidant that may also help reduce inflammation.

Source: The Prevalence of Inflammatory Periodontitis Is Negatively Associated with Serum Antioxidant Concentrations, Iain L. C. Chapple, Mike R. Milward and Thomas Dietrich, Journal of Nutrition Vol. 137, 657-664, March 2007