Periodontitis, periodontitis and vegetarianism

It is a well-known fact that diseases of the periodontal and periodontal tissues (gum and ligamentous apparatus of the teeth), diseases of the mucous membrane and soft tissues of the oral cavity are practically not amenable to treatment. But they stabilize and come down to remission. Sometimes to stable, sometimes to less pronounced. Well-known periodontitis, periodontitis and gingivitis are the most common diseases. In Russia, periodontics began to develop actively only 10-12 years ago, and in general, the population is still not prepared to solve these problems.

First you need to deal with simple terminology so that no articles and advertisements are misleading. Diseases of periodontal tissues are divided into dystrophic (associated with dystrophic processes in tissues) – PARODONTOSIS, and diseases of inflammatory origin – PERIODONTITIS. Very often, unfortunately, advertising and literature classify everything in one category, but this is the same mistake as confusing and classifying such diseases as ARTHRITIS and ARTHRITIS in one group. If you always remember the example of arthritis and arthrosis, then you will not confuse periodontitis and periodontal disease.

Most often, of course, there are diseases of inflammatory etiology – periodontitis. Almost every 3-4 resident of megacities, and especially in Russia, after 35-37 years has already encountered this problem. “Especially in Russia” – because our medical universities only 6-8 years ago singled out a separate department of periodontology and began to study this problem more actively. Almost every such patient is familiar with bleeding gums, discomfort when biting on solid food, sometimes almost complete rejection of solid food for this reason, tooth mobility accompanied by painful and unpleasant sensations, bad breath and increased deposition of soft and mineralized plaque (tartar). ).

Briefly speaking about the etiology and pathogenesis of periodontitis, the main factors of occurrence are genetics, lifestyle, oral hygiene and the patient’s diet. The pathogenesis of the disease is that there is a gradual and persistent inflammation in the ligamentous apparatus of the tooth, for this reason the mobility of the tooth increases, the constant inflammation is due to the presence of persistent microflora (Str Mutans, Str.Mitis and others), the patient is no longer able to cope with cleaning himself teeth and maintaining adequate hygiene. Pathological dentogingival pockets (PGD) appear.

All these symptoms and manifestations of periodontitis are associated with a defect in the periodontal and periodontal connective tissue, that is, with gradually developing and increasing inflammation, the main cells of the connective tissue, fibroblasts, can no longer cope with the synthesis of new connective tissue, thus, tooth mobility appears. The hygienic factor, that is, the characteristics of the patient brushing his teeth, is also an important factor. Thus, with proper cleaning in the oral cavity, not only a relatively normal balance of microflora is formed, dental plaque and hard dental deposits are removed, but blood flow is also stimulated. The normalization of the stability of the ligamentous apparatus of the teeth is affected by the use of solid, raw and unprocessed food. This is natural and physiological. It is not necessary to have advanced knowledge in the field of dentistry in order to understand that each organ functions better and more correctly with a correctly set (within physiology) load on it. Thus, incisors and canines are the frontal group of teeth designed to capture and bite off food. Chewing group – for grinding the food lump.

It is a long-known fact, which is still taught at the Faculty of Dentistry, that the use of solid food (raw fruits and vegetables) contributes to the normalization and strengthening of the ligamentous apparatus of the tooth. Children during the period of bite formation and to normalize the mechanisms of self-cleaning of the oral cavity (due to the processes of salivation) are recommended to regularly eat 5-7 fruits and vegetables, not grated or cut into small pieces. As for adults, these self-purification mechanisms are also characteristic of them. This applies to the consumption of vegetables in general.

Differences in omnivorous and vegetarianism (veganism) of patients also determine the course of pathological processes in periodontal tissues. In 1985, the doctor of dentistry and dentistry of the University of California, A. J. Lewis (AJ Luiss) recorded his long-term observations not only of the course of caries in patients, but also of the development and occurrence of periodontitis in vegetarians and non-vegetarians. All patients were residents of California, belonged to the same social group with approximately the same living conditions and income level, but differed in dietary features (vegetarians and omnivores). During many years of observation, Lewis found that vegetarians, even significantly older than omnivorous patients, practically did not suffer from periodontal pathologies. Out of 20 vegetarians, pathologies were detected in 4, while pathologies were found in omnivorous patients in 12 out of 20. In vegetarians, pathologies were not significant and always reduced to remission. At the same time, in other patients, out of 12 cases, 4-5 ended in tooth loss.

Lewis explained this not only by the stability and normal regeneration of the ligamentous apparatus of the teeth, good self-cleaning mechanisms of the oral cavity and sufficient intake of vitamins, which had a positive effect on the synthesis of the same connective tissue. After examining the microflora of patients, he came to the conclusion that vegetarians have significantly fewer periodontopathogenic microorganisms in the obligate (permanent) microflora of the oral cavity. By examining the mucosal epithelium, he also found higher numbers of oral immune cells (immunoglobulins A and J) in vegetarians.

Many types of carbohydrates begin to ferment in the mouth. But everyone was interested and surprised by the relationship between the processes of carbohydrate fermentation and the relationship with the consumption of animal protein by patients. Everything is quite clear and simple here. The processes of digestion and fermentation in the oral cavity are more stable and perfect in vegetarians. When using animal protein, this process is disturbed (we mean the enzymatic processes performed by amylase). If you compare roughly, then this is the same as with the systematic use of sugar, sooner or later you will gain excess weight. Of course, the comparison is rough, but still, if one enzymatic system is designed by nature to break down simple carbohydrates in a food lump, then the addition of protein will sooner or later disrupt the entire biochemical process. Of course, everything is relative. In some patients it will be more pronounced, in some less. But the fact is that vegetarians have hard tissues (enamel and dentin) in a much better condition (this was studied by Lewis not only statistically, but also histologically, electronic photographs still haunt meat-eating dentists to this day). By the way, Lewis himself was a non-strict vegetarian, but after research he became a vegan. Lived to the age of 99 and died during a storm in California while surfing.

If everything is clear enough with the issues of caries and enzymatic reactions, then why do vegetarians do so well with the ligamentous apparatus of the teeth and connective tissue? This question haunted Lewis and other dentists all his life. Everything with self-cleaning mechanisms and the quality of the oral fluid is also clear. To find out, I had to “get into” general therapy and histology and compare the bones and connective tissue not only of the maxillofacial region, but of all organs and systems.

The conclusions were logical and quite natural. The connective tissue and bones of non-vegetarians are generally more prone to destruction and change than the connective tissue of vegetarians. Few people can now be surprised by this discovery. But few people remember that research in this area began precisely thanks to such a narrow field of dentistry as periodontics.

Author: Alina Ovchinnikova, PhD, dentist, surgeon, orthodontist.


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