In a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, researchers studied the link between a plant-based diet and gingivitis in patients.


Gingivitis and periodontal disease affects about 732 million people worldwide and is increasing drastically. Periodontal disease and gingivitis are one the most common and preventable oral diseases. Researchers examined the effects of an anti-inflammatory diet on the rate of developing gingivitis.

Published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, the study enrolled 30 participants between October 2016 and August 2017. The participants were randomly placed into two groups: an experimental and a control group. The participants were recruited and enrolled at the Department of Operative Dentistry of the Medical Center-University of Freiburg, Germany.

Those enrolled in the experimental group were placed on a low-carbohydrate diet rich in animal proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin D, antioxidants, plant nitrates, and fiber. They were placed on this diet for four weeks. No changes were made to the control group’s diet.

Those enrolled in the experimental group showed to have more reduced inflammation and bleeding caused by gingivitis. The researchers found no major difference between both groups. The experimental group also had an increase in vitamin D values and weight loss.

Some limitations mention in the study includes the number of participants enrolled, and the limited range of diagnostic measurements. The study ultimately shows that diet is a major factor in developing gingivitis.

Lead author Dr. Johan Woelber noted in a press release that “dental teams should address dietary habits and give adequate recommendations in the treatment of gingivitis, since it might be a side effect of a pro-inflammatory Western diet.”

Written by Nicole A. Brown, MS

Reference: Woelber, J.P., Gartner, M., Breuninger, L., Anderson, A., Konig, D., Hellwig, E., Al-Ahmad, A., Vach, K., Dotsch, A., Ratka-Kruger, P., Tennert, C. (2019). The influence of an anti-inflammatory diet on gingivitis. A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Periodontology. DOI: 10.1111/jcpe.13094

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