Your heart-healthy regimen may also help stave away the effects of gum disease, according to a new study in the Journal of Dental Research.
The study, which took place at Harvard University, was comprised of 55 adults with moderate periodontitis. Researchers found that the experimental group—which took a DHA Omega-3 supplement and low-dose aspirin—had improved periodontal outcomes over the control group after the three-month trial. During the course of the study, neither group received professional periodontal treatment.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish and algae, and according to WebMD have been found to have benefits to cancer, asthma, depression, cardiovascular disease, ADHD, and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
The study’s findings are significant. While plaque index and bleeding on probing didn’t change, researchers found that the group that took the DHA supplement and aspirin had decreased pocket depth and gingival index. The most intriguing part of this study, however, is that gingival and systemic inflammatory biomarkers (hsCRP and Il-1) were also reduced.
Previous research has determined that risk for heart attack and stroke increases with elevated hsCRP levels as much as with total cholesterol and HDL levels. Patients with periodontal disease can have hsCRP levels up to seven times higher than those with healthy mouths.
Even without this study, we have known for years now that it is imperative for anyone with high CRP levels be evaluated and treated with advanced periodontal treatment, so the mouth does not become a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This most recent study’s findings suggest that DHA and aspirin supplements might aid in reducing the inflammatory cascade that often begins with periodontal bacteria and inflammation.