A diet full of fish and nuts – foods rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) – goes a long way to keeping people’s smiles healthy, according to a new study.
Looking at the diets of 182 adults, researchers found that those who consumed the highest amount of n-3 fatty acids were 30% less likely to develop gum disease and 20% less likely to develop periodontitis (severe gum disease).
Lead author Dr Asghar Z. Naqvi of Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center says, “We found that n-3 fatty acid intake, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are inversely associated with periodontitis in the US population.
“To date, the treatment of periodontitis has primarily involved mechanical cleaning and local antibiotic application. A dietary therapy, if effective, might be a less expensive and safer method for the prevention and treatment of periodontitis.”
Commenting on the study, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, said, “Most people suffer from gum disease at some point in their life. What people tend not to realize is that it can actually lead to tooth loss if left untreated, and in this day and age, most people should be able to keep all their teeth for life.
“This study shows that a small and relatively easy change in people’s diet can massively improve the condition of their teeth and gums, which in turn can improve their overall well being.”
The study was published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
Adapted from a British Dental Health Foundation media release.