Friday, November 12, 2010

Omega-3's linked to a lower risk of gum disease

However, the researchers are hesitant to provide omega-3's full credit just yet, as other factors might be involved, too.

Advanced gum disease, known as periodontitis, is a chronic inflammation caused by the accumulation of bacteria at the gum line. The situation can lead to bone and tooth loss.

"The bacteria involved appear to need inflammation to grow," senior researcher Dr. Kenneth J. Mukamal of Harvard Medical School, Boston, told Reuters Health in an e-mail. "Indeed, anti-inflammatory treatment with omega-3's seems to help experimental periodontitis in rabbits. Our hope was to extend that to humans."

Mukamal and his colleagues studied more than 9,000 adults, every participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1999 and 2004.

About eight percent of the participants had gum disease, report the researchers in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Based on the participants' recalls of their diets over the previous 24 hours, the team found that those who consumed intermediate or high amounts of one of the major fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, were less likely to have the disease.

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