n-3 Fatty Acids May Protect Against Periodontitis

Effect appears to be especially strong with higher intake of docashexaenoic acid

THURSDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as those found in fish oils, may be effective for preventing and treating periodontitis, according to research published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Asghar Z. Naqvi, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues studied the diets and periodontal health of 9,182 adult participants of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1999 and 2004 to see if n-3 fatty acids can prevent or treat periodontitis.

The researchers noted periodontitis in 8.2 percent of the participants. The adjusted odds ratios for periodontitis related to the highest tertiles of dietary n-3 fatty acid intake compared with the lowest tertiles were 0.78 for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; P = 0.009), 0.85 for eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; P = 0.10), and 0.86 for linolenic acid (P = 0.28).

"In this nationally representative sample, higher dietary intakes of DHA and, to a lesser degree, EPA, were associated with lower prevalence of periodontitis. Interventional studies are needed to confirm the potential protective effects of n-3 fatty acids on periodontitis," the authors write.

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Monica Smith

Monica Smith

Updated on January 17, 2012

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