Omega-3 fatty acids prevent and may reverse gum disease

Researchers from Harvard Medical School, the Harvard School of Public Health and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre have discovered that polyunsaturated fatty acids found in nuts and oily fish can prevent and treat periodontitis, commonly known as gum disease.

Periodontitis is a very common and sometimes painful disease of the gums in which the gums separate from the teeth, leaving teeth exposed and sensitive. The consequential build up bacteria leads to tooth loss and potential bone loss. Periodontitis is typically treated with antibiotics, mechanical scraping and surgical removal of disease gums, but now it has been discovered that the anti-inflammatory properties of  polyunsaturated fatty acid in omega-3s, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), lowers incidence of gum disease.

Dr. Asghar Z. Navqi of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre’s Department of Medicine and his team collected data from over 9000 adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The participants received dental checks between 1999-2004, kept track of their diets and use of fish oil supplements among other things. Extensive demographic, ethnic, educational and socioeconomic data was also studied to remove any factors that might cloud the data.

The results showed that for those with the highest consumption of DHA there was a 20% reduction in gum disease, and for those with a higher consumption of EPAs a slightly smaller reduction in gum disease. A major finding of the study was that significantly reduced odds of periodontitis were achieved in people who only consumed modest amounts of DHA and EPA. Studies with animals have had similar findings. Low doses of omega-3s have slowed the growth of gum disease in mice.

Source: Natural News


First Published November 2010


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