Periodontal diseases are conditions that affect the gums, jaw bone, connective tissues, and ligaments in the mouth (
These conditions affect many people. In fact, plaque buildup causes gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums, in about 90% of the population (
Gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, which is a chronic inflammatory disease that may lead to the destruction of the teeth and their supporting tissues.
Poor oral hygiene, smoking, certain health conditions, your age, and genetics may increase the risk of developing periodontal disease.
Dental health professionals use several approaches to treat periodontal disease. These include scaling and root planing, which involves deep cleaning of the gums, teeth, and roots. They also treat risk factors and use certain medications and even surgery in some cases (
Additionally, some studies have shown that certain supplements promote oral health and reduce the risk of periodontal disease or treat it in those who have the condition (
This article lists 10 supplements you could consider taking to improve your gum health and treat periodontal disease.
Vitamin C is essential for the production of a structural protein called collagen, which is an important part of your gums. This is why a vitamin C deficiency can result in inflamed, bleeding, and painful gums (
Vitamin C deficiency is common worldwide, especially in developing countries. People treat and prevent this condition by taking vitamin C supplements (
A 2019 review of 14 studies looked at the relationship between people’s vitamin C levels and periodontal disease.
It found that people who had lower blood levels of vitamin C and lower dietary intake of vitamin C were more likely to develop gum disease than people who had optimal blood levels and higher dietary intake (
A 2021 review of six studies found that taking vitamin C supplements reduced gum bleeding in people with gingivitis and those with diabetes. However, it did not improve other aspects of periodontal disease (
Therefore, taking a vitamin C supplement may reduce your risk of periodontal disease and promote gum health. It could be especially helpful if your diet is currently low in foods that are rich in vitamin C, such as fruits and vegetables.
Plus, if you have periodontal disease, taking vitamin C supplements may improve some of your symptoms.
The omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) have powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects.
A 2020 review of six studies showed that people who took omega-3 supplements had significant improvements in measures of periodontal disease (
These measures included plaque levels and the depth of pockets or space between the teeth and their gum attachment, which is called the probing depth (
Another high quality study from 2020 looked at how taking omega-3 supplements affected 90 people with periodontitis (
The study gave participants 1 gram of a combination of EPA and DHA per day for 1 month. It also treated participants with dental scaling and root planing. Control participants received dental treatment but no supplements (
Those who took the supplement and received these dental treatments experienced significantly greater improvements than the control group in connective tissue attachment and the gingival index, which measures gum inflammation, bleeding, and swelling (
Omega-3s may also help boost the activity of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase in gum tissue, which may help protect against gum damage (
Probiotic supplements are well known for promoting gut health. Interestingly, some research suggests that certain strains of probiotics may benefit gum health.
Periodontal disease is associated with an overgrowth of harmful bacteria that cause damage to the gums. Introducing beneficial bacteria that have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties has been shown to be effective for treating periodontal disease.
One study gave 30 people with periodontitis a lozenge that contained the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri twice a day for 12 weeks, in addition to scaling and root planing (
The study found that those who received this treatment had greater reductions in the pathogenic bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis compared with those who received periodontal cleaning alone (
Porphyromonas gingivalis is one of the main strains of bacteria that contributes to the development of periodontal disease (
Keep in mind that these studies focused on probiotic lozenges, not capsules.
However, a 2017 review of 12 studies concluded that probiotic supplements like capsules are likely effective for supporting overall oral health, including the health of the gums (
However, the authors noted that scientists needed to do more well-designed, long-term studies to further investigate these potential benefits (
Melatonin is a hormone the body makes naturally. You can also purchase it in supplement form.
It plays important roles in the body and is involved in your sleep-wake rhythm, immune system function, blood pressure regulation, and more. It’s also known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-swelling properties (
Some studies suggest that lower melatonin levels in the saliva are associated with more severe periodontal disease. Plus, people with periodontal disease appear to have lower levels of salivary melatonin than people without periodontal disease (
In a 2020 study, 50 people with diabetes and periodontal disease received 250 mg of melatonin before bedtime for 8 weeks, in addition to undergoing non-surgical periodontal therapy (scaling and root planing).
The melatonin treatment significantly increased the participants’ antioxidant defense system (
That is, they had higher levels of the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase and decreased markers of inflammation compared with participants who underwent periodontal therapy alone (
This suggests that taking melatonin supplements may protect against gum damage. However, scientists need to do more research on this topic.
Vitamin D is a nutrient your body needs for a number of critical processes, including the functioning of the immune and musculoskeletal systems.
Vitamin D plays an important role in oral health as well, including the health of the gums. It may help boost gum health by increasing the body’s antibacterial defense systems, maintaining healthy gum tissue, and reducing inflammation in the gums (
Deficiency in vitamin D may increase the risk of periodontal disease. Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency are extremely common worldwide (
A 2020 review of 16 studies found that people with periodontal disease tended to have significantly lower blood levels of vitamin D compared with people who didn’t have periodontal disease (
However, the researchers were not able to determine whether taking vitamin D helped treat periodontal disease. Scientists need to do more research on this topic (
Regardless, vitamin D is essential for overall health, and many people need to take vitamin D anyway to maintain optimal levels.
Some studies have shown that certain B vitamins, including folate, tend to be lower in people with periodontal disease and poor gum health.
For example, a 2007 study in 844 older adults found that low folate levels were significantly associated with periodontal disease (
Another study found that adults who consumed less folate in their diets had higher rates of gum bleeding during dental exams than people who had higher levels of folate (
Additionally, a 2018 study that included 6,415 people demonstrated that insufficient intake of several micronutrients, including the B vitamins folate and thiamine, was significantly associated with periodontal disease severity (
Plus, studies have found that a deficiency in vitamin B12 is associated with gum issues in children (
If you don’t get adequate amounts of B vitamins in your diet, you may want to take a B complex vitamin to help maintain your gum health.
A 2019 study looked at low zinc levels in 300 people with and without type 2 diabetes and its effect on chronic gum disease (
Studies have shown that taking zinc by mouth reduces plaque and improves gum health in children (
Additionally, zinc has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help tame gum inflammation related to periodontal disease (
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant the body produces. You can also take it as a supplement.
CoQ10 has powerful cellular protective and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show that taking CoQ10 may be helpful for those with gum disease.
A small 2015 study looked at the effects of CoQ10 in 30 people with periodontal disease.
Those who took 120 mg of CoQ10 for 3 months in addition to undergoing scaling and root planing experienced significant reductions in gum inflammation compared with people who received a placebo (
In addition to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity, curcumin has antibacterial properties and may help inhibit the growth of P. gingivalis (
Additionally, a high quality study from 2021 looked at the effects of curcumin in 48 people with gingivitis and periodontitis. Those who took 80 mg of curcumin per day for 4 weeks had decreased gum inflammation and bleeding compared with those who took a placebo (
Sipping green tea, taking green tea extract, or applying products that contain green tea to the gums may have a beneficial effect on oral health.
Green tea may help reduce inflammation and inhibit bacterial growth, thereby benefiting those with gum disease (
Using green tea chewing gum, green tea gel, green tea toothpaste, and green tea mouthwash may help reduce plaque, inflammation, and bleeding of the gums in people with periodontal disease (
A 2016 study suggested that drinking green tea daily for 6 weeks may help reduce gum bleeding in people with periodontal disease (48).
However, a 2021 review of 18 studies concluded that there’s currently not enough evidence to recommend green tea products as a main treatment for gum-related diseases. However, the results of studies involving green tea to help treat periodontal disease are promising (49).
If you want to improve the health of your gums or you have periodontal disease, make sure to get regular dental cleanings and follow your dentist’s recommendations to maintain the health of your gums.
In addition, you may want to try one or more of the supplements listed in this article. Certain dietary supplements, including omega-3s, vitamin C, probiotics, melatonin, and CoQ10 may help if you have gum-related conditions.
If you’re interested in trying one of the supplements above, speak with your dental professional to make sure it’s the right choice for your specific needs.