Does your dentist treat your gum disease with dietary fatty acid supplements such as fish oil yet? Have you ever wondered why consuming polyunsaturated fatty acids may lower your incidence of gum disease? Chronic inflammation is reduced by n-3 fatty acids such as those oils containing DHA and EPA, such as fish oils, algal oil, squid oil, and some plant oils such as echium oil and flaxseed oil. Linolenic acid (LNA) did not show this association.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help prevent gum disease. But don't use corn oil as it's not high in DHA and EPA. And most commercial, non-organic corn oil may be made from genetically modified corn.
In an article in the November 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers from Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health found that dietary intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), known to have anti-inflammatory properties, shows promise for the effective treatment and prevention of periodontitis.
A 2010 study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, indicates that link between sipping a small amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids and perhaps a lowered incidence of gum disease. See the October 26, 2010 news release reporting the study, "Consuming polyunsaturated fatty acids may lower the incidence of gum disease," Elsevier Health Sciences. Also see, "Pilot study of dietary fatty acid supplementation in the treatment of adult periodontitis."
What do most dentists tell you when you have gum disease? You're most likely sent to a periodontist for further treatment. But how many dentists tell you to eat something in the food chain to lower the incidence of gum disease? Maybe you're just told to keep brushing and flossing.
Or maybe you're lucky enough to find a dentist that uses natural treatments for gum disease such as brushing with baking soda or using various water machines with certain medicines. However your dentist treats gum disease, how many dentists will tell you to eat a modest amount of polynsaturated fatty acids?
Periodontitis, a common inflammatory disease in which gum tissue separates from teeth, leads to accumulation of bacteria and potential bone and tooth loss. Although traditional treatments concentrate on the bacterial infection, more recent strategies target the inflammatory response.
Researchers found that n-3 fatty acid intake, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are inversely associated with periodontitis in the US population. To date, the treatment of periodontitis has primarily involved mechanical cleaning and local antibiotic application, according to the news release.
Foods that contain significant amounts of polyunsaturated fats include fatty fish like salmon, peanut butter, margarine, and nuts. The only problem with margarine is that sometimes the polyunsaturated fats in margarine are partially hydrogenated causing those trans fats which may harden your arteries.
You'd have to find out what 'spreads' contain trans fats at levels under the usual 500 mg level that require reporting on food labels. So you have to watch what oils you're taking and make sure they're helpful and not rancid.
So far, you might find some naturopaths or nutritionists looking at a dietary therapy, if effective, for a less expensive and safer method for the prevention and treatment of periodontitis. The reason for this study is that there are lots of evidence that chronic inflammation is reduced by n-3 fatty acids.
Researchers were studying whether other chronic inflammatory conditions might be treated, such as periodontitis, with n-3 fatty acids. And nutritionists are wondering whether these polyunsaturated fatty acids also might have the added benefit of preventing other chronic diseases associated with inflammation, including stroke?
In the past, people have been told by various sources that polyunsaturated fatty acids help to encourage tumor growth and that people should turn back the clock and start eating saturated fats again, such as coconut oil (unrefined, virgin). But here's a new study that says polyunsaturated fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help prevent gum disease.
A dietary intake of the PUFAs DHA and (EPA) were associated with a decreased prevalence of periodontitis,
Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a nationally representative survey with a complex multistage, stratified probability sample, investigators found that dietary intake of the PUFAs DHA and (EPA) were associated with a decreased prevalence of periodontitis, although linolenic acid (LNA) did not show this association.
The study involved over 9,000 adults who participated in NHANES between 1999 and 2004 who had received dental examinations. Dietary DHA, EPA and LNA intake were estimated from 24-hour food recall interviews and data regarding supplementary use of PUFAs were captured as well. The NHANES study also collected extensive demographic, ethnic, educational and socioeconomic data, allowing the researchers to take other factors into consideration that might obscure the results, according to the October 26, 2010 news release.
The prevalence of periodontitis in the study sample was 8.2%. There was an approximately 20% reduction in periodontitis prevalence in those subjects who consumed the highest amount of dietary DHA, according to the study. The reduction correlated with EPA was smaller, while the correlation to LNA was not statistically significant.
In an accompanying commentary, Elizabeth Krall Kaye, PhD, Professor, Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, notes that three interesting results emerged from this study, according to the news release. One was that significantly reduced odds of periodontal disease were observed at relatively modest intakes of DHA and EPA.
Another result of note was the suggestion of a threshold dose; that is, there seemed to be no further reduction in odds or periodontal disease conferred by intakes at the highest levels, the news release noted, according to the study. Third, the results were no different when dietary plus supplemental intakes were examined.
These findings are encouraging in that they suggest it may be possible to attain clinically meaningful benefits for periodontal disease at modest levels of n-3 fatty acid intakes from foods.You can check out the article, "n-3 fatty acids and periodontitis in US adults." by Asghar Z. Naqvi, MPH, MNS; Catherine Buettner, MD, MPH; Russell S. Phillips, MD; Roger B. Davis, ScD; and Kenneth J. Mukamal, MD, MPH, MA.
Also see the commentary: "n-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Periodontal Disease" by Elizabeth Krall Kaye, PhD. Both appear in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 110, Issue 11 (November 2010) published by Elsevier.