26/10/2010 13:01 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Oily Fish And Peanut Butter Could Keep Your Smile Healthy

Nutritionists claim there are many reasons to get more healthy oils in your diet - apparently they're good for your heart, your joints and your skin, and that's just for starters. And now there's another health benefit to add to the list. According to Harvard Medical School experts, eating foods rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids could help protect against gum disease and tooth loss.

healthy smile Healthy smile (Stock.xchng, greyman)

Gum disease - or periodontitis - is a common inflammatory disease where your gums separate from your teeth. Trust us, it's not a good look.

But according to the researchers' study, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, foods such as oily fish, peanut butter, nuts and margarine - all of which contain high amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids - may help prevent periodontitis.

In other words, instead of just brushing, flossing and seeing your dentist regularly, another key to keeping your smile healthy could be your diet.

So why polyunsaturated fatty acids? According to the Harvard researchers, polyunsaturated fatty acids may help reduce inflammation. They analysed data from a large national survey and found that people who regularly ate foods rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids had 20% less gum disease than those who ate other types of fat.

The form of polyunsaturated fatty acid that had the biggest association with a reduction in gum disease was DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid found in oily fish.

Other research research has suggested eating walnuts - which also contain polyunsaturated fatty acids - may help your body deal with stress.

Do you get enough of the right type of fat in your diet?

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