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Lucy Stock is a columnist for the Irish News

Study Links Fish Oils To Good Teeth

by Lucy Stock BDS DipImpDent RCS (Eng)

Published in the Irish News . 04.12.2013

It’s well known that keeping our teeth clean is the best way to help them last a lifetime. Now research is beginning to show how our diet can assist in strengthening our teeth and gums. 

In a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers confirmed the tooth-conserving power of omega-3 fatty acids. When they looked at data on over 9,000 adults, they found those who had a rich omega 3 diet reduced their risk of gum disease by 20%. Even modest amounts of dietary omega-3 fatty acids offered protection against this common form of inflammatory gum disease. Gum disease is a common problem that causes swollen, bleeding, receded and red gums. Researchers from the University of Kentucky found that omega-3 fatty acids slow down and even stop the growth of bacteria that cause gum disease. Taking omega-3 fatty acids packs a double wallop against the destructive bacteria that hide out inside your mouth by reducing the bacteria and the inflammation.

Clinical studies also show that people with gum disease tend to have low levels of Coenzyme Q10 in their gums. A few studies with small numbers of people found that CoQ10 supplements led to faster healing and tissue repair. However more research is needed in this area to make a definite connection. It’s the same situation with magnesium. An association between magnesium and gum disease has been suggested by preliminary studies. The results of analysis suggest that nutritional magnesium supplementation may improve gum health.

You can increase your intake of Omega 3s by eating a diet rich in oily fish (salmon, tuna, halibut, and herring), flaxseeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, soybeans and some dark green leafy vegetables. Coenzyme Q10 is found in fish (salmon), liver and whole grains and you will get your magnesium from dark leafy greens, mackerel, bananas, beans and lentils. Alternatively you can turn to supplements. Choosing which nutritional supplement is the best can be a daunting task. The key to choosing is realising that many of the nutrients are prevented from being absorbed by your body due to the outer coating of the tablet. So try to find the supplement in a powdered form because the nutrient will then have an absorption concentration of between 90- 95% compared with 35-40% in the pill form.