When testing if Omega-3 Fatty acids are beneficial to one’s oral health, studies show that the use of a fish oil supplement such as 900mg EPA + DHA taken once per day with a low dose aspirin can be beneficial. In subjects used in this study, taking these supplements proved to give them healthier gums with reduced periodontal pocket depths, and greater gingival attachment to help keep bacteria out from under the gums. In another study, subjects were given an omega-3 supplement (180mg EPA and 120mg DHA) once per day and this also proved to be beneficial. These subjects also had reduced pocket depths, greater gingival attachment and less bleeding. In both studies the individuals were given such supplements after a thorough scaling/cleaning with their hygienist. So therefore, in conjunction with regular routine dental hygiene appointments and with adequate amounts go Omega fatty acids, individuals can see improved oral health. Furthermore, as per the dietary guidelines set out by Health Canada, if their guidelines are properly followed, one will be receiving the recommended dose of omega fatty acids from their diet alone, that with help aid in healthy gums.

Alpha-Linoleic Acid (ALA) is a type of  Omega-3 fatty acid which must be obtained by diet. It is considered an essential fatty acid. An example of a rich source of ALA is flaxseed oil or ground flaxseed. EPA and DHA are also Omega-3 fatty acids which play important roles in the inflammatory process. Examples of rich sources are fish, fish oils and seafood. Reduced incidence of periodontal disease is seen with higher DHA intake. Fish oil supplements with EPA and DHA provide greater improvements with periodontal health following a dental cleaning as well as provide overall good health including cardiovascular health.

Advice for patients summary
Small amounts of unsaturated vegetable oils and/or ALA rich foods should be consumed daily for sufficient amounts of ALA. Two servings of fatty fish should be consumed weekly to provide adequate amounts of EPA and DHA. If not, a fish oil supplement of one capsule a day can provide the same adequate amount to support periodontal health.