By Holly Taylor BSc(Hons) DipCNM MBANT
According to new findings published in the journal Nutrition, older people with a low intake of the omega 3 essential fatty acid, DHA, could have an increased risk of dental disease.
Researchers in Japan recruited 55 people with an average age of 74 and calculated dietary intakes of omega 3. They then recorded the number of dental problems over a five year period and found that the people with the lowest DHA intakes had an approximately 1.5 times higher rate of periodontal disease.
In periodontal diseases, bacteria trigger an inflammatory reaction that can result in destruction of the teeth and gums. In addition to being a major risk factor for tooth loss, the inflammation created by periodontal disease has also been linked to cardiovascular disease.
Commenting on the potential mechanism, the researchers note that it is probably the anti-inflammatory effects of omega 3 fatty acids that are responsible for the improvements in dental health.
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