Saturday, January 29, 2011

Gum disease...try salmon!

An article in the Journal of American Dietetic Association revealed that DHA, an omega-3 fat found largely in fish oil, may lower the risk of periodontitis, a chronic inflammation of the gums that leads to gum and bone loss and eventually tooth loss.

They studied 9,182 adults aged 20 years and older who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1999 and 2004. Periodontitis was assessed by dental exam. Intake of n-3 fatty acids was assessed by 24-hour dietary recall. The survey included approximately 9,000 people who were examined for gum disease.

The results revealed that those who consumed some DHA were about 20 percent less likely to have periodontitis, than those who reported consuming none.  The results also showed a weaker link for another major omega-3 fat in fish called EPA and no link between alpha-linolenic acid, which is an omega-3 fat found in soy, canola and flax oil.

These findings only demonstrate an association between periodontitis and DHA. Further experimentation will be required involving people who are at risk or have periodontitis to actually see if DHA is effective at reducing the risk of periodontitis.

For now it is still recommended that you have 2 servings of fatty fish a week for other reasons such as lowering your risk of heart disease.

J. Am. Diet. Assoc. 110(11):1669-1675, 2010.

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