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Omega-3 fatty acids may help patients with periodontitis

August 4, 2014

According to a new US study a supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid seems to reduce the extent of the gum disease.

In the randomized controlled trial, the extent of moderate periodontitis (e.g., average depth of the pockets between the teeth and the gums) was measured in 46 adult patients who received either 2,000 mg per day of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) plus 81 mg per day of aspirin or placebo plus aspirin for three months (1). The study results showed that participants who received DHA had significantly improved symptoms and reduced concentrations of inflammatory biomarkers in the gum tissue, compared to the placebo group.

The researchers commented that these findings support a potential therapeutic use of DHA due to its antibacterial efficacy. An earlier study indicated that omega-3 fatty acids could inhibit the growth of oral pathogens, including Streptococcus mutans, Candida albicans, and Porphyromonas gingivalis at relatively low doses (2). Another study reported that the average number of dental disease events was 1.5 times higher in people with low DHA levels, compared to those with the highest average levels of DHA (3). Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that destroys the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth. It is thought to be the second most common disease worldwide, with 30–50% of the US population suffering from it.

References

  1. Naqvi A. Z. et al. Docosahexaenoic Acid and Periodontitis in Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Dental Research. Published online July 2014.
  2. Huang C. B. and Ebersole J. L. A novel bioactivity of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and their ester derivatives. Molecular Oral Microbiology. 2010; 25(1):75–80.
  3. Iwasaki M. et al. Longitudinal relationship between dietary omega-3 fatty acids and periodontal disease. Nutrition. 2010; 26(11-12):1105–1109.