Omega-3s may be good for more than just dental inflammation according to studies from the university of Kentucky.
New literature recently published in Molecular Oral Biology reveals that omega-3 fatty acids derived from marine and plant sources appear to be quite effective at fighting bacteria and a wide variety of infectious agents common to the mouth.
EPA, DHA, and ALA
Basically, there are two different classifications of omega-3s. They are short-chain and long-chain, both of which describe the length of the carbon chain on each acid. Even in small doses, the three different types of omega-3: Eicosapentaenoic acd (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) may inhibit infections of the mouth. Extant research has already shown these omega-3s are successful at reducing inflammation, making researchers like Dr. B. Huang curious about the antibacterial properties of omega-3s.
According to Dr Huang and his colleague Dr. J. Ebersole of the Center for Oral Health Research (United Kingdom’s College of Dentistry), this is the first study of its kind to show the antibacterial properties of omega-3s.
In a conversation with one source on supplements and nutrition, Dr. Huang noted that research up to this point has primarily focused on the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3. This is particularly exciting for those with immune deficiencies, dentures, or even individuals who are simply interested in alternative dental treatments.
The present study, which was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, was conducted in “vitro” which means it took place in a controlled setting. Most other studies on DHA, too, have been conducting in this fashion.
At the study’s conclusion, Dr. Huang revealed not one but ALL the different types of omega-3s had strong antibacterial effects of up to 50%.
Future Directions for Dental Health
Dr. Huang noted that his trials will still need to empirically tested on whole living organisms, but is expecting to find results from DHA and ALA stronger than their ALA counterparts.
Future research is still needed in this area; a challenge Dr. Huang appears to be up to. He plans to continue his work and hopes to develop a product line which might include new delivery systems like chewing gum.