Want Healthy Teeth and Gums? Hit the Dairy Aisle

CHICAGO—February 6, 2008—Consumers have long known that including dairy in their diets can help maintain healthy bones and even help promote weight loss. However, a study published in the Journal of Periodontology, the official publication of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), demonstrated that routine intake of dairy products may also help promote periodontal health. The study analyzed the periodontal health of 942 subjects and determined that those who regularly consumed dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt had a lower instance of gum disease.

“Research has suggested that periodontal disease may affect overall systemic health,” said study author Dr. Yoshihiro Shimazaki of Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan. “This study reinforces what much of the public already knows – the importance of dairy in helping achieve a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy mouth.”

Study participants aged 40 through 79 were examined on two periodontal parameters that can indicate gum disease, periodontal pocket depth (PD) and clinical attachment loss (CAL) of gum tissue. Researchers observed that subjects that consumed 55 or more grams of products containing lactic acid each day had a significantly lower prevalence of deep PD and severe CAL, therefore demonstrating a lower instance of periodontal disease.

Periodontal, or gum, disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults and has been connected to the development of heart disease and increased risk of stroke, and can contribute to complications from diabetes, respiratory disease or osteoporosis.

“Millions of adults already suffer from periodontal disease,” says Dr. Susan Karabin, DDS,President of the AAP. “By regularly consuming dairy products such as cheese and milk, something many people do each day, the risk of developing gum disease may decrease. These findings are important since maintaining healthy gums is a critical component to maintaining a healthy body.”

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