The effect of controlled ascorbic acid depletion and supplementation on periodontal health

J Periodontol. 1986 Aug;57(8):480-5. doi: 10.1902/jop.1986.57.8.480.


To determine if systemic levels of vitamin C influence periodontal health, changes in plaque accumulation, gingival health and periodontal probing depth were measured in healthy subjects housed for 3 months in a nutrition suite that provided controlled periods of ascorbic acid depletion and supplementation. Eleven healthy, nonsmoking men, aged 19 to 28 years, ate a rotating 7-day diet adequate in all nutrients except ascorbic acid. This basal diet, which contained less than 5 mg/day ascorbic acid, was supplemented with 60 mg/day ascorbic acid for 2 weeks, 0 mg/day ascorbic acid for 4 weeks, 600 mg/day ascorbic acid for 3 weeks and 0 mg/day ascorbic acid for 4 weeks. Plasma, urine and leukocyte ascorbate levels, Plaque Index, Gingival Index, Bleeding Index and probing depths were monitored throughout the study. A uniform oral hygiene program was maintained in which oral hygiene instructions were reinforced bi-weekly. Ascorbate concentrations in body fluids and leukocytes responded rapidly to changes in ascorbic acid intake. No mucosal pathoses or changes in plaque accumulation or probing depths were noted during any of the periods of depletion or supplementation. However, measures of gingival inflammation were directly related to the ascorbic acid status. The results suggest that ascorbic acid may influence early stages of gingivitis, particularly crevicular bleeding.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / metabolism
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Ascorbic Acid Deficiency / complications
  • Gingival Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Periodontal Index
  • Periodontium / drug effects*


  • Ascorbic Acid