Gingivitis is one of the most common oral health problems in America. If left untreated, it can progress and result in tooth loss and bone and joint damage in the jaw. However, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health recently found that polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), such as omega-3s, may be one way that individuals can avoid the condition.
Investigators noted that the nutrients have been shown in prior studies to reduce inflammation in other parts of the body. After examining the results of previous studies, they discovered that PUFAs have a similar effect in the mouth.
Researchers found that individuals who consumed the highest levels of PUFAs were up to 20 percent less likely to suffer from gingivitis than those who consumed low levels of the nutrient.
"To date, the treatment of periodontitis has primarily involved mechanical cleaning and local antibiotic application," said Asghar Naqvi, who led the study. "Thus, a dietary therapy, if effective, might be a less expensive and safer method for the prevention and treatment of periodontitis.
Another way that individuals may be able to reduce their risk of gingivitis is by using specialty breath freshening products, which have been shown to kill many of the bacteria associated with the condition.