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Two-a-day grapefruit can be good for your gums

If it's grapefruit season —and it is — it's a good time for people with periodontal disease.

New research from Germany shows that eating two grapefruits a day for two weeks may significantly reduce gum bleeding in people with chronic periodontal disease.

Scientists at Friedrich Schiller University said that eating two-a-day increases blood levels of vitamin C, which is known to promote wound healing. One medium-sized grapefruit provides some 70 percent of the U.S. recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.

Although smoking is a known risk factor for periodontal disease, the study showed that eating the two grapefruits each day had a positive effect on both smokers and nonsmokers. All of the 58 people who participated in the study started off with chronic periodontal disease and also low levels of vitamin C in their blood plasma.

"This is a small-scale, short-term study, but it reinforces the message that if you have enough vitamin C in your diet it tends to promote healing," said Dr. Gordon Watkins, a scientific advisor to the British Dental Association.

The study also showed that, on average, smokers' vitamin C levels are 20 percent lower than nonsmokers' levels.

Those taking part in the research were advised not to brush their teeth immediately after consuming the grapefruits because citrus fruits, such as grapefruits and oranges, are acidic and can weaken tooth enamel.

Please contact the ADA if you have questions about this article.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

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