Periodontitis is the inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the teeth. It can cause shrinkage of the gums and loosen the person's teeth. Surprisingly, it's a condition that affects more than 50 percent of all adults. Periodontitis has links to an increased danger of heart problems and stroke. Dr. Alison Coates (University of South Australia) got a team together to evaluate whether regular fish oil (FO) supplementation can be a useful therapy for this troubling condition. The tests included a combination of FO and aspirin, and the results were promising.
Chronic Inflammation and Fish Oil
Chronic inflammation is a growing problem for all kinds of reasons. It's certainly a contributor for the manifestation of periodontitis. What happens is that the body attempts to remove the bacteria. As it does this, it also damages its own tissue, hence the problems. The theory is simple, but the science is anything but conclusive. The theory is that low-grade inflammation can play a major role in periodontitis. Fish oil is a natural treatment that can help to reduce inflammation. It's easy to join the dots.
Group reports show evidence that fish oil and aspirin combined, is effective at reducing the symptoms of periodontal. However, like so much of this research nothing is yet final. There needs to be larger, better designed studies to evaluate the supplement on its own and also combined with aspirin. This is the only way to determine whether FO is effective without the aspirin combination. More trials are underway in Australia. They're now looking at the potential effects of FO as an assistant therapy for treating periodontitis.
Omega-3 and Dental Health in General
Omega-3 supplementation for improving oral, and in particular dental health, is quite a new concept. We know that omega-3 helps to relieve chronic (long lasting) inflammation in the body. Aside from periodontitis and gingivitis, omega-3 fats may soon become a standard treatment for gum disease as well. One uncontrolled pilot experiment suggested that fish oil, taken over six month at 2000 mg of EPA/DHA daily, could produce positive changes in cases of gum diseases. Again, more research needs doing as is often the case, though trials thus far all look very promising.
Further Reading of Interest
Want to learn more on the scientific side? The report below gives an updated and detailed account on fish oil supplementation and its potential with periodontal health.