Estimates suggest that approximately 75 percent of American adults are unknowingly walking around with gum disease and according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4 to 12 percent of the nation's adults have advanced stages of the disease. Research has indicated that fish oil may be a valid dental treatment for periodontitis.
Periodontal disease (aka periodontitis) is an oral health condition marked by the inflammation of gums and is often accompanied by other dental problems such as tooth sensitivity and bleeding gums. When left unchecked by a dentist the situation can further collapse and lead to diastema, life threatening dental abscesses and negatively contribute to other general health issues including strokes and heart disease.
The condition can occur for a number of reasons and all of them are linked to the grown of dental plaque. The CDC states "Half of the cases of severe gum disease in the United States are the result of cigarette smoking," however that behavior is not the only cause of the issue (http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/AAG/doh.htm). Gum disease can also be caused by neglecting oral hygiene, not getting proper nutrition, excess alcohol consumption or skipping trips to the dentist and allowing tartar to build up. Researchers may soon start recommending fish oil supplements as a way to combat the issue.
Over the years there have been numerous studies analyzing the effect of fish oil on human oral health and Dr. Alison Coates from the University of South Australia and reviewed a total of eight studies. The conclusion from her research indicated that the compound may be helpful in improving dental health specifically linked to gum disease.
The study found that improvement in clinical measures were common in all existing studies (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120424162218.htm). However the most positive impact on oral health was noted in two studies that combined fish oil and aspirin for dental health.
Fish is one of the best natural food sources for Omega-3 fatty acids. Those compounds are eating some of the best foods for dental health as the compound has been found to minimize the risks of developing gum disease. Scientists at Harvard University found that diets rich in the right type polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) deliver anti-inflammatory properties that can combat gum disease.
Researches analyzed the eating habits and gum disease levels of around 9,200 adults over the age of twenty in order to find a correlation between the behavior and the condition. The data collected indicated that individuals who had diets rich with Omega-3 foods had a 23 percent to 30 percent decreased odds of having gum disease.
Japanese scientists also came to the same conclusion in 2010. Scientists focused their efforts on 55 people with an average age of 74. The researches calculated participants dietary intakes of omega-3. The researchers found a relationship between docosahexaenoic acid (AKA DHA, the main component in omega-3) levels and the occurrence of dental disease in study participants and found that the lower the levels of DHA, the greater the odds of dental disease being present.
Individuals looking to eat fish for dental health should not only focus on eating specific fish, but eating sustainable choices. Seafood has been an important source of nutrition since the beginning of time and man's desire for the food is contributing to the decline of the selections available. Technology has advanced so much that fish populations are dying out more quickly than fishermen can catch them. That is why buying fresh, sustainable fish options is not only great for dental health, but also for being "green." Individuals can feel free to choose any fish sold at Whole Foods as the retailer only sells sustainable options. If shopping there is not an option, make sure to check
Individuals looking to get more Omega-3 in their diet should focus on the new dietary guidelines offered by the U.S. government to determine proportion requirements. Eating whole foods (not supplements) rich in the inflammation fighting compound. Some delicious considered to be a "Best Choice" from SeafoodWatch.com (courtesy of the Monterey Bay Aquarium) include salmon (Wild Alaskan), tuna (albacore from the US or Canadian Pacific), halibut (Alaskan), scallops (choose farmed) , shrimp (US farmed), Dungeness crab (California, Oregon or Washington), lobster (California spiny) and mackerel (Canada, wild caught) all contain healthy Omega-3 levels and experts recommend eating these options twice a week.
Individuals looking for more information regarding the benefits of fish oil and Omega-3 and oral health should schedule a dental appointment immediately. Those looking to find a dentist knowledgeable on the subject can count on 1-800-DENTIST to put them in contact with a great dentist that has been screened prior to being admitted to group membership.