Periodontal disease affects the tissues that surround your teeth: your gum tissue, or gingiva, the ligaments that hold your teeth in place, or the bone that surrounds and stabilizes each tooth root. The disease might develop due to poor oral hygiene, exposure to environmental toxins or as a side effect of an underlying disorder. Vitamin E, an essential nutrient in your diet, might prove beneficial in helping to control the development or progression of periodontal disease.
Role in Inflammation
Vitamin E can help to control periodontal disease is through its ability to prevent inflammation. Chronic inflammation plays an important role in some cases of periodontal disease. Exposure to factors that increase inflammation in your gums, help predict your risk of developing periodontal disease. Over time, gingival inflammation causes a recession of gum tissue, and promotes the formation of ulcers, while inflammation of the ligaments or bone leads to tooth loosening or loss. Taking vitamin E can help to reduce the levels of inflammation in your body, potentially helping to control the chronic inflammation that can occur in periodontal disease.
Role as an Antioxidant
Vitamin E is also an antioxidant; it prevents the activity of harmful free radicals, which oxidize and damage your tissues. The presence of antioxidants in your mouth can damage your gum tissue, helping promote the development of periodontal disease. A study published in "Advances in Medical Science" in 2007 found that epilepsy patients with periodontal disease displayed abnormally low levels of vitamin E -- as well as other antioxidants -- in their mouths and saliva. As a result, consuming vitamin E might help to restore vitamin E levels in and around gum tissue, potentially helping to treat or prevent periodontal disease in some individuals.
Implications for Diabetes-Related Periodontal Disease
One of the possible side effects of diabetes is the development of periodontal disease; poorly-controlled diabetes disrupts your immune system, increasing your risk for the abnormal inflammation that can lead to periodontal disease. Taking vitamin E might help diabetics control their blood glucose levels. By helping people control their diabetes, vitamin E might help reduce the side effects of the disease, including the development of periodontal disease.
Considerations and Warnings
Though vitamin E might prove beneficial in the prevention or management of periodontal disease, its overall effect on periodontal disease is not yet fully understood. You should not try to treat gum inflammation or periodontal disease on your own using vitamin E supplements. Periodontal disease requires medical attention to help minimize tissue damage, and accidentally over-consuming vitamin E might have adverse effects, such as bleeding gums. If you're interested in taking vitamin E to help control periodontal disease, talk to a medical professional to determine a safe dosage unlikely to cause harmful side effects.
"Advances in Medical Science'; Antioxidant Activity Of Blood Serum And Saliva In Patients With Periodontal Disease Treated Due To Epilepsy; Sobaniec et al.; 2007