Researchers at Harvard Medical School have found that dietary intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as fish oil, may be effective for treatment and prevention of periodontitis. Periodontitis occurs when gum infection such as gingivitis is left untreated. The infection spreads from the gums to the ligaments and bone that support the teeth. The teeth eventually become loose and fall out. Periodontitis is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults.
The study showed that people who had the highest amount of polyunsaturated fats as a part of their diet were approximately 20% less likely to have periodontitis. Foods that contain significant amounts of the good fats include fatty fish like salmon, peanut butter and nuts.
Dr. Elizabeth Kaye of the Boston University School of Dental Medicine noted three interesting results emerged from this study. One was that the odds of developing periodontal disease were significantly reduced even when the intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids was modest. She notes that the study also showed that more is not better in this case – higher intake did not create any further reduction in the odds of having the disease. Thirdly, the results did not change when dietary sources plus supplements were studied. This means that getting a moderate dose of these good fats through diet seem to work just as well as adding pills.
What does this mean for our patients? At this time we know that eating good fats such as salmon and nuts a few times per week are good for lots of things in our bodies – now we are adding gum health to the list. Popping fish oil pills won’t cure your periodontal disease however. Treatment by a dental professional is required to reverse the damage done by infection and inflammation.
If you have any of the following symptoms you have a type of gum disease and should seek treatment as soon as possible. The disease does not go away on its own and will only worsen over time.
- Bad Breath
- Bright red or reddish purple gums
- Shiny or swollen gums
- Bleeding when you brush or floss
- Gums that are tender to the touch
- Loose teeth
Please contact StoneRidge Dental Care at 614-476-6696 as soon as possible to arrange your appointment. If you have avoided dental care due to fear or anxiety please ask about your options for sedation dentistry. At StoneRidge Dental Care you can get the care that you need without worry.