“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.” ― Joseph Addison
Smiles are one of humanity’s greatest free treasures. Just the act of making ourselves smile can change our mood, lower blood pressure, relieve stress, release endorphins and make you look younger. That is why we brush and floss every day to keep our smiles bright. Fortunately, your toothbrush is not the only weapon you have for protecting your teeth. What you eat can have a dramatic effect on dental health. Research has been telling us that we can help keep our smiles healthy, bright, and disease-free by filling our plates with omega-3 rich seafood.
Replace Risky Habits with Beneficial Ones
Although we know it’s important, sometimes we may not brush quite as long as we should or floss as often as the dentist recommends. As time goes by and poor habits sink in, periodontal disease can emerge like a silent invader, inflaming our gums and yellowing our teeth, morphing a wonderful characteristic into something we resist sharing with others. When periodontitis causes the inflamed gums to pull away from the teeth and form “pockets” that become infected, the battle between your immune system and bacterial toxins eventually begins to disintegrate the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. The only option left is for the teeth to be removed in an expensive procedure. Additionally, advanced gum disease also increases the risk for stroke and heart problems. Good dental hygiene will keep the bacteria at bay and prevent periodontal disease, but why not take an extra step? Consuming seafood will help keep your teeth healthy with the powerful anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
Seafood to the Rescue
Omega-3s are one of the most powerful natural anti-inflammatories, a fact that scientists have long recognized. Their anti-inflammatory role in cardiovascular disease is already well established – but research has been discovering many other uses for them to improve our health. One of the latest beneficiaries are our gums. Periodontal disease is simply a bacterial infection that causes inflammation in the gums. And of course the best way to fight an inflammation is with an anti-inflammatory! So scientists put omega-3s to the test. By surveying over 9,000 people, researchers found that those who had a regular diet of omega-3 rich foods were 30% less likely to have gum disease than those who eat little to no foods with omega-3s. Of course there are other factors to take into account. People who eat fish may simply lead healthier lifestyles and have less disease overall. However, there have been other studies that have found the same effect of omega-3 rich diets correlates with low occurrence of periodontal disease. This leads us to believe that omega-3s have the ability to block the inflammation causing agents of gum disease.
One study even found that omega-3s have antibacterial properties. Researchers observed that omega-3s could inhibit the growth of oral pathogens before infection occurs. This means that they can potentially combat bacteria long before there is even an inflammation, thus providing a double layer of oral protection. In all studies, the long-chain EPA and DHA omega-3 forms were found to be the most beneficial for oral health – both in terms of anti-inflammatory and antibacterial factors – and are the forms found naturally in seafood.
This doesn’t mean you have to go out and start stuffing yourself with seafood at every meal. The researchers found that eating a few servings of fish a week was enough to lower a person’s risk. Seafood also provides a host of vitamins and minerals that are fantastic for teeth. Try eating whole canned sardines with bones for a rich source of calcium, which is especially good for your smile.
Seafood is not the only food that has tooth-happy essential fatty acids. Nuts, avocados, and olive oil can also fight gum disease. With such amazing benefits, why not combine these foods for optimal gum disease fighting power? Seafood Watch has a lovely page listing recipes with sustainable seafood. Check out these recipes for whole striped bass with avocado salsa verde and olive oil, or this autumn salad with warm Oregon shrimp vinaigrette sprinkled with almonds. Try encrusting your favorite fillet with cashews or almonds, or just topping it off with avocado slices. The opportunities to mix and match are endless. With sustainable seafood, you can support healthy oceans AND keep smiling with beautiful teeth!
Periodontal disease can lead to fewer smiles, less happiness, and may result in very expensive dental procedures. Since we know that we are not always able to follow precise dental hygiene recommendations, it makes perfect sense to include another preventative measure, especially if our taste buds benefit as well. Another added bonus – seafood actually makes us happy! Not only are you eating a meal that improves your smile, but it makes you want to smile even more. Get your delicious and sustainable seafood from Pucci Foods and show off that gorgeous smile!