Healthy Living

Can Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Help Prevent Periodontitis?

Can Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Help Prevent Periodontitis?

According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Diabetic Association, food containing polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) may help to prevent gum disease. Periodontitis is the most common type of gum disease in which the gum separates from the teeth, allowing the bacteria to accumulate in the space. If left untreated, periodontitis may lead to bone and tooth loss.

The results of the recent study show that people who have a diet rich in PUFA have a 30% reduced chance of getting gum disease, when compared to people who do not have this type of fat in the diet. Researcher Asghar Z. Naqvi, MPH, MNS, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, reported that as per the study, the consumption of omege-3 fatty acids, especially docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is inversely linked to periodontitis. Improving the diet will be a better way to prevent and treat this condition, he adds. Presently, treatment of this dental condition involves mechanical cleaning and application of local antibiotics.

Earlier studies had shown that PUFAs have beneficial effects in controlling other inflammatory conditions like heart disease. These beneficial fatty acids may also fight the inflammation that causes gum disease. This study adds to the growing evidence that PUFA’s have beneficial effect in inflammatory disorders, therefore, treating gum diseases with this component in the diet will give the additional benefit of controlling other inflammatory diseases, including stroke, says Naqvi.

In this study, researchers compared the diet and risk of gum disease in 9,812 participants of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted from 1999 to 2004. Analysis of data show that people who had moderate to high amounts of DHA in the diet had 30% lesser chance of developing gum disease when compared to those who had lower amounts of this fatty acid. Participants who had higher amounts of EPA had 23% reduced the risk of gum disease compared to those who had very low amounts of EPA in the diet. The risk or periodontitis was found to be significantly lower in those who had only modest levels of PUFA in the diet — less than 40 milligrams per day for DHA and 10 milligrams per day for EPA.

Some of the best sources of PUFA such as DHA and EPA include fatty fish like salmon, nuts, margarine and peanut butter.