Gum disease will affect most of us at some point in our lives, but a little-known nutrient – coenzyme Q10 – could help tackle it.
Sore, bleeding gums when brushing your teeth? Bad breath? Receding gums? They’re all early signs of gum disease, a very common condition that affects most of the adults in the UK.
What causes gum disease?
Figures show you’re likely to experience gum disease at least once in your life. It’s caused by a build-up of plaque, which irritates the gums.1
Early-stage gum disease is known as gingivitis and if left untreated, it can develop into periodontitis (serious inflammation of the gums). This affects the tissues that hold your teeth in place, and if it gets worse, it can lead to tooth loss.
What can prevent gum disease?
Making sure you brush and floss your teeth regularly is the first step to protecting yourself against gum disease. Regular check-ups with your dentist can also keep an eye on your gum health.
You could also try taking a gum-friendly supplement. In 1974, American researchers found that those with gum disease have low levels of the nutrient coenzyme Q10 – called co-Q10 – in their gum tissue, compared to those with healthy gums.2
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What is co-Q10?
Co-Q10 is found in every cell of your body. It acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells against free-radical damage, and plays a vital role in energy metabolism, producing energy in your cells’ mitochondria, the body’s energy ‘factories’.3
As we age, our levels of co-Q10 naturally decline. Although co-Q10 is found in foods such meat, fish and wholegrains, levels are much lower than those found in supplements; you would need to eat a lot more to obtain the same amount.
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Could a co-Q10 supplement prevent gum disease?
In 2014, Indian researchers discovered that a supplement can increase the concentration of co-Q10 in diseased gum tissue, and help suppress inflammation.4 It’s also been found that applying co-Q10 to the gums may be effective when used alongside other treatments.5
Meanwhile, further research looked at co-Q10 as a dietary supplement in patients with chronic periodontitis.6 One group took a supplement, while a second group took a placebo. After four months, those taking co-Q10 had improved symptoms of gum disease and faster healing.
Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before trying any remedies.
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1. NHS Choices. Overview. Gum disease. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gum-disease/
2. Nakamura R, et al.. Study of co-Q10-enzymes in gingiva from patients with periodontal disease and evidence for a deficiency of coenzyme Q10. Available from: http://www.pnas.org/content/71/4/1456
3. Mayo Clinic Staff. Coenzyme Q10 overview. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-coenzyme-q10/art-20362602
4. Prakash S, Sunitha J, Hans M. Role of coenzyme Q10 as an antioxidant and bioenergizer in periodontal diseases. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2991687/
5. Hanoika T, et al. Effect of topical application of coenzyme Q10 on adult periodontis. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7752836
6. Saini R. A clinical and microbiological study to evaluate the effect of dietary supplement of coenzyme Q10 in nonsurgical treatment outcome of chronic periodontitis patients after phase 1 periodontal therapy. Available from: http://www.ejgd.org/article.asp?issn=2278-9626;year=2014;volume=3;issue=3;spage=194;epage=198;aulast=Saini