We all know that brushing and flossing prevent gum disease, but research from Kyushu University in Japan shows that choosing the right foods also goes a long way toward preventing gum disease in people who have diabetes.
In diabetes, gum disease can actually become a medical emergency. High blood sugars cause gum infections, and gum infections cause high blood sugars. Certain foods, fortunately, help break the cycle.
The research team of Dr. Yoshihiro Shimazaki and his colleagues found that diabetics who have advanced gum disease usually consume fewer foods rich in lactic acid than diabetics who have healthy gums.
What are the foods rich in lactic acid?
- Yogurt (including yogurt drinks and probiotic yogurts)
- Cottage cheese
- Wheat beers
- Sourdough bread, especially sourdough rye
When the researchers made allowances for brushing, flossing, smoking, alcohol consumption, and high cholesterol, they found that exposing the gums to foods made with the protective bacterium Lactobacillus were less likely to become infected. It was not necessary to eat a huge amount of these foods. At little as a quarter-cup (about 60 g) of yogurt every day was enough to protect the gums. Consuming milk and cheese, however, did not protect the gums.