You may be familiar with the relationship between collagen and skincare. Did you know this protein may also support oral health? Collagen may play a role as part of a proper oral care regimen.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a protein that occurs naturally in the human body. Collagen can be found in different parts of our body, including our skin and bones. As we age, our bodies may generally produce less collagen. This decline in collagen levels may lead to wrinkles and bone loss in some individuals (study).* Collagen may also play a role in healthy aging.*
Our teeth are made of specific components, including our enamel, cementum, dentin, and the tooth pulp. The tooth pulp is a soft tissue in the center of a tooth. It contains nerve endings and blood vessels. The tooth pulp may also help to create dentin.
Dentin is the main component of teeth, accounting for around two-thirds of the tooth's volume. It is a rigid, calcified material that forms the bulk of the tooth structure. The enamel that covers the tooth is essentially a thin protective shell, while the dentine underneath provides strength and stability.
How does collagen benefit teeth?
Collagen may benefit teeth in a few different ways. There are many types of collagen, each of which may play a different role in our body.
Type I collagen is the most abundant type in the body and is found in the tooth pulp. Type I collagen is the main component of the organic portion of dentine. Collagen of type I accounts for around 85% of this dentine portion, while the rest is formed by collagen of type III and V (study).*
Collagen can be found in the gingival tissue and helps to keep gums healthy. It might also help to repair specific damages that may have happened to the gums.* This is because collagen fibers are one of the main elements of the connective tissue in the gums. One study found that collagen can help promote the preservation of structural integrity and tissue function of gums in specific cases (study). Therefore, a loss of collagen might be a signal/marker of periodontal disease progression in certain populations.*
Another study also showed that collagen exists as a distribution of nanoscale morphologies in teeth (study).*
Research also showed that collagen deficiency of type VII might play a role in defective tooth enamel formation (study). Enamel is the protective outer layer of the tooth that can be worn down by acidic foods and drinks, brushing too hard, or grinding your teeth.
Once the enamel is damaged, it may be more susceptible to cavities and decay.* Another study showed that collagen could help to repair certain teeth damage and help prevent further deterioration of the enamel when associated with a specific synthetic peptide in certain population (study).*
In addition, one more study showed that collagen could also help to reduce gum inflammation around exposed roots with a specific method (study).* Gum disease is a severe condition that occurs when bacteria build up in the gums, causing them to become swollen and inflamed. If left untreated, gum disease could lead to tooth loss.*
Finally, collagen may also helps your jawbone by supporting bone mineral density in specific populations (study). Our jawbones provide support for our teeth - so it's important to keep them healthy. Unfortunately, as we age, our jawbones may also begin to deteriorate due to bone loss. This might lead to tooth loss and a change in facial appearance (such as sagging skin).*
Many foods contain collagen, such as bone broth, fish, and chicken. In addition, some teeth and gums vitamin supplements and other protein powders supplements may also contain collagen. You can also read and learn more about vitamin C for teeth, vitamin D for teeth, calcium for teeth, zinc for teeth, and phosphorus for teeth.
As always, talk to your doctor before taking any supplements. Get professional advice if you think you might need a collagen supplement or are already taking one to ensure you're not exceeding the amounts you may need.