health issues inflammation gums

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A Less-Than-Picture-Perfect Smile

The health issue: Receding gums

What inflammation has to do with it: Receding gums can be caused by periodontitis, or chronic inflammation of the gums. Interestingly, "there's some evidence that periodontitis might be the initial trigger for rheumatoid arthritis," says Criswell, another inflammatory disease that attacks the joints in your body (usually the smaller ones in your hands, wrists, feet and ankles).

What you can do: Good oral hygiene can help prevent periodontitis in the first place, and a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association suggests that eating omega 3 fatty acids may also help keep the inflammation at bay. You don't need to eat fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner, though: The researchers found that the benefits leveled off at a modest omega 3 intake, about the amount you'd get from eating 1.5 ounces of canned tuna per day. Worried you might already have periodontitis? Keep an eye out for bleeding gums, the first sign of the disease.