What Is the Best Food for Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease?

What would happen if you stopped brushing your teeth but ate more healthfully?

 Experimentally, when study participants stop brushing their teeth, plaque starts to build up and, within a few days, their gums start to get inflamed. Though nothing may be visible just yet, if you take a biopsy at the gum line, you can see the inflammation beginning to spread. Within a few weeks, overt gingivitis becomes apparent with gums that can get red and swollen and bleed easily. If you don’t do anything about it, you can develop periodontal disease, where the inflammation creeps down into the supporting structures of the tooth—the bone and ligaments—setting you up for tooth loss.

How did we get along for millions of years without brushing our teeth? “Dental disease is almost universal” these days, but skulls from thousands of years before the invention of the toothbrush have perfect teeth. Admittedly, that was

How to Treat Canker Sores

Vitamin C, turmeric, beta-glucan fiber, and vitamin B12 are put to the test for recurring canker sores (aphthous ulcers).

Canker sores can be “a painful and often recurrent inflammatory process of the oral mucosa,” the lining of our mouths. Similar to other chronic inflammatory conditions, DNA damage due to oxidative stress caused by free radicals is thought to play a role.

Normally, free radical production is balanced with antioxidants, but if the concentration of free radicals gets too high and our antioxidant enzymes and the antioxidants we get in our diet “cannot compensate for these radicals, the balance changes in favor of the oxidants”—that is, in a pro-oxidant direction. This can lead to oxidative damage within our body. Does that mean that people who experience recurring canker sores—also known as recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS)—have fewer antioxidants, more oxidation, and more DNA damage? Yes, yes, and yes. As you can see

How to Eat to Reduce Cancer Risk

What does the best available balance of evidence say right now about what to eat and what to avoid to reduce your risk of cancer? 

In 1982, a landmark report on diet, nutrition, and cancer was released by the National Academy of Sciences. It was “the first major, institutional, science-based report on this topic.” The report started out saying that “scientists must be especially careful in their choice of words whenever they are not totally confident about their conclusions.” For example, by that time, it had become “absolutely clear” that cigarettes were killing people. “If the population been persuaded to stop smoking when the association with lung cancer was first reported, these cancer deaths would not be occurring.” If you wait for absolute certainty, millions of people could die in the meantime, which is why, sometimes, you have to invoke the precautionary principle.

For example, “emphasizing fruits and vegetables to

The Link Between Chicken Consumption and Urinary Tract Infections

Only about one in four people have heard of Campylobacter, compared to 90 percent who are familiar with Salmonella. “Although the incidence of these two…gastrointestinal infections is amazingly high,” infecting more than a million Americans every year, “it is even outranked by the incidence of infection caused by extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC)”—a bug even fewer people have likely heard of.

Extraintestinal? That means outside of the intestines, as in causing bladder infections, and pathogenic, meaning disease-causing. Indeed, E. coli results in millions of infections annually. As I discuss in my video Friday Favorites: Urinary Tract Infections from Eating Chicken, “multiple lines of evidence indicate poultry as a major food animal reservoir for urinary tract infections”—that is, a source for the bacteria that cause UTIs in people. (You may recall I explored this several years ago, as discussed in my video Avoiding Chicken to Avoid

Blueberries to Benefit Mood and Mobility

The consumption of berries can enhance “beneficial signaling in the brain.” Plant foods are our primary source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, but some plant foods may be better than others. As I’ve explored before, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial showed us that one cup of blueberries a day can improve cognition among older adults, and the same happens in children after just a single meal with blueberries, though two cups of berries may work better than one.

As I discuss in my video Benefits of Blueberries for Mood and Mobility, that single hit of berries may also improve mood. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study, young subjects were asked a series of questions, such as Are you very slightly or not at all, a little, moderately, quite a bit, or extremely interested? Excited? Strong? Ashamed? And so on. As you can see in the graph below and at