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Hopefully you brush and floss every day to keep your smile bright, but how much do you pay attention to your diet for healthy teeth? Many people know what they eat can have a dramatic impact on their teeth and realize they should avoid sugars and starches if they hope to prevent dental decay. But what things can you eat to promote dental health? Seafood! This article is written with the help of Dentist Colorado Springs.
Two Dental Health Risks You Can Prevent
The most common dental problems include tooth decay and periodontal infection (gum disease). Though they often start out as minor issues, these two diseases can combine to ruin teeth and completely destroy your smile. Both problems start with bad bacteria clinging between teeth and along the gumline. As sugars and complex starches enter the mouth, the bacteria break them down and produce acids. These acids wear down the enamel (tooth decay) and irritate your gum (periodontal disease).
For tooth decay, you might notice a brown or dark spot forming on the surface of your tooth. Otherwise, your dentist might detect a softening of the enamel. You can reverse this early demineralization with fluoride therapy or a more conscious effort in dental care. However, as soon as the decay breaches the enamel and begins infecting the dentin, you cannot reverse the process and the cavity requires a dental restoration like a filling, inlay, onlay or crown.
With gum disease you might first notice slight inflammation or your gums bleed easily. This early stage is called gingivitis and can be revered with a professional dental cleaning. However, if left to progress the immune response from your body causes more inflammation and the bacteria travels deeper, destroying the connective tissues anchoring your teeth in place. This is called periodontitis, and it is linked to several systematic diseases and is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Once the bone and connective tissue disintegrates, you require invasive dental procedures if you ever hope to restore your smile.
Nutrients in Seafood that Promote Oral Health
Few people realize how much seafood can contribute to oral health. Some of the valuable dental health nutrients commonly found in seafood include:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These are a powerful anti-inflammatory and common in most seafoods. This nutrient is vital not only for healthy gums but a healthy circulatory system. Researcher Asghar Z. Naqvi, MPH, MNS, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston says, “We found that n-3 fatty acid intake, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are inversely associated with periodontitis in the U.S. population.” More specifically, researchers found that those with a regular diet including omega-3 rich foods were 30 percent less likely to have gum disease. Some of the best fatty fish include salmon, trout, mackerel and tuna. You can find it in shellfish like crab and lobsters.
This is another one of the best nutrients for healthy teeth because it allows your body to absorb calcium, which is essential for healthy bone and enamel. With seafood, you can easily fulfill your daily vitamin D requirements and cut your risk of dental decay in half. Fish rich in vitamin D include salmon, halibut, swordfish and trout.
This is not really a nutrient, but rather a microbe found on the surface of seaweed. It has the potential to break up and remove plaque and bacteria. Researchers at Newcastle University studied how bacteria colonize and shield themselves with a web of extracellular DNA called a biofilm. This barrier protects the bacteria from chemicals, antibiotics and even brushing, which is why even those with good dental health habits can suffer from tooth decay. The test tube results from the study showed the enzyme found in marine bacterium on seaweed can break up the biofilm and removes the harmful bacteria.