Fatty fish may help prevent gum disease

Polyunsaturated fatty acids like fish body oils show promise in preventing and treating periodontitis, gum disease, U.S. researchers suggest.

Asghar Z. Naqvi of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and colleagues at the Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey involving more than 9,000 adults who had received dental examinations from 1999 to 2004.

Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids - docosahexaenoic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid and linolenic acid - were estimated from 24-hour food recall interviews and data regarding fatty acid supplements were collected as well.

“We found that n-3 fatty acid intake, particularly docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, are inversely associated with periodontitis in the U.S. population,” Naqvi says in a statement. “To date, the treatment of periodontitis has primarily involved mechanical cleaning and local antibiotic application.”

The prevalence of periodontitis in the study subjects was 8.2 percent, but there was an approximately 20 percent reduction in gum disease prevalence in those who consumed the highest amount of dietary docosahexaenoic acid. The reduction correlated with eicosapentaenoic acid was smaller, while the correlation to linolenic acid was not statistically significant.

The findings are published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

BOSTON, Oct. 27 (UPI)

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