Omega-3 fatty acids are wonder nutrients that offer many benefits to the body, from head to toe. Now, even the mouth is included in the long list of body areas that function better after intake of omega-3s.
A recent study found that a moderate, daily intake of the omega-3s DHA and EPA (found in marine sources, usually fish oil) was associated with up to a 20 percent decreased risk of gum disease (periodontitis).
Gum disease is an inflammatory disease that is caused by microorganisms like the bacteria Streptococcus mutans, Candida albicans and Porphyromonas gingivalis. Usually antibiotics are prescribed in an effort to eliminate these bacteria, but other treatments have been used that target the inflammation of gum disease, like scaling and root planing (ouch!) and in extreme cases surgery.
Omega-3s are most known for their anti-inflammatory effects, so it is not surprising that they would help quell inflammation in the mouth. Additionally, this study also found that omega-3 fatty acids also demonstrated antibacterial activity against oral pathogens.
The mouth is the very beginning of the digestive tract, and the bacterial balance in the mouth is proving to be more important than previously thought. In fact, gum disease is also associated with the development of heart disease! Everything is connected, folks, and it all goes back to the gut!