I came across an interesting dental article on the Web MD Health News site the other day. The article is entitled ‘Fatty Fish, Nuts May Prevent Gum Disease.’ Author Jennifer Warner explains that a recent study links diets high in polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) with a lower risk of periodontitis.
Gum disease is a common dental issue for many Annandale residents. When gum tissue pulls away from a tooth, it forms a pocket. This pocket is a warm, moist place for bacteria to flourish. (You know what they say about Nature abhorring a vacuum.)
If gum disease (periodontitis) goes untreated, the tooth and jaw bone are at risk. During dental examinations, I carefully measure gumline pockets and examine all teeth for gum disease.
“Researchers found that people whose diets were rich in PUFAs were as much as 30 percent less likely to have gum disease than those who ate little or none of this type of fat.”
Foods high in PUFAs include salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, sardines, herring. Oils high in PUFAs include safflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, and margarines made with the previously mentioned oils. Almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and flax seeds are high PUFA nuts/seeds.
I don’t know many families in Annandale that regularly eat mackerel and herring. Maybe some of us could benefit from becoming more adventurous when it comes to seafood.
The possible prevention of gum disease is not the only reason to eat high PUFA foods. These foods pack a nutritional punch and have myriad health benefits. The next time you are stocking up at your Alexandria grocery store, you may want to add some salmon and walnuts to your list.
It is important to understand that diet alone will not treat or prevent gum disease, however it may be an additional tool for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
If you have not been to your Annandale family dentist in a while, I urge you to schedule an examination and cleaning today. We are currently taking new Annandale dental patients at Center for Dental Anesthesia.
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