You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     Nutritional Periodontist
      June 9, 2016   [printfriendly]

You Don't Know What You Don't KnowDid you know that…

  • Tiny, whole, wild-caught fish could help prevent gum disease?
  • Efficient exercise could help prevent gum disease?
  • A few healthy minutes in the sun also could help prevent gum disease?


Of course you didn’t because you don’t know what you don’t know. Fish, exercise, the sun – all these things support a healthy immune system and thereby support a healthy mouth. There are many more facts that you probably don’t know that are important for health. But, I’ll just discuss these three noteworthy truths, which are supported by peer-reviewed research.


Most of you know who I am. For those who don’t, I am a periodontist – a dentist who specializes in the treatment of gum diseases. And, I have been treating patients for the last 42 years. As a matter of fact, I have become known as the Nutritional Periodontist. I believe and teach that nutrition along with a primal lifestyle go a long way in supporting mouth health as well as overall body health.


When it comes to mouth health, proper and efficient tooth brushing and flossing are important – extremely important. But, oral health goes beyond just brushing and flossing to prevent dental disease. Here are some facts you most likely didn’t know:


    This published paper supports a diet including healthy fish. Eating small, whole, wild-caught fish like sardines is a way to prevent periodontal disease. These fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids primarily in the forms of DHA and EPA, both of which have been shown to be anti-inflammatory. In this study, patients with aggressive periodontal disease had a low ratio of omega-3 fatty acids compared to omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids are found mainly in processed vegetable oils and are highly inflammatory. Individuals with healthy gum tissues have a much higher ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids. Sardines fit the bill. Also, the skin and bones of sardines are high in animal prebiotics, which are good food for the healthy bacteria in the gut. Healthy gut bacteria help produce healthy mouth bacteria.


    When obese rats with gum disease started exercising, their signs of gum infection improved. HERE. HERE. Big deal! What about humans? In this human study lasting 4 weeks, aerobic exercise and muscle training along with diet control reduced the signs of gum disease without any gum treatment. And in this published research, tai chi exercise performed over a period of 6 months decreased the signs of gum disease.


    There is mounting evidence suggesting low serum levels of vitamin D are related to increased levels of gum inflammation. One natural way to maintain healthy vitamin D levels is through healthy exposure to sunlight – the way most of our primal ancestors maintained healthy vitamin D blood levels for hundreds of thousands of years. The amount of sunlight you personally require can be estimated by an app called D-Minder. It incorporates your location, age, skin tone, time of year, time of day, what you are wearing, degree of cloud cover, supplementation, and diet.


Take the time to get educated about what your body needs to be the best it was meant to be. When you learn what you don’t already know, you open yourself to so many options.


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