A new study suggests fish oil could help prevent gum disease.
Researchers in the U.S. say people whose diets are full of omega-3 fatty fish oil are 30 percent less likely to have gum disease. The high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids help decrease inflammation.
Dental exams showed study participants in the middle and upper third for omega-3 fatty acid consumption were between 23 percent and 30 percent less likely to have gum disease than those who consumed the least amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
"Eating a very feasible amount of fatty fish seems to have a lot of benefit," said senior study author Dr. Kenneth Mukamal, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "But we found no benefits to eating tons of this stuff."
The authors of the study say they do not know how much fish one should consume. They suggest following guidelines from major organizations such as the American Heart Association, which recommends eating fatty fish at least twice a week. The researchers said it is probably a good idea to include fish in your diet, not just for gum disease but for overall health.
"There are a lot of benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. We have good evidence they prevent sudden death caused by heart rhythm disturbances. We have some evidence omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke," Mukamal said. "This is a great example of another potential benefit."
Researchers studied nearly 9,200 adults aged 20 and up participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1999 and 2004.
The study is published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.