Omega-3 may combat oral bacteria

The dental health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids may include anti-bacterial effects, a new study claims.

Omega-3 fatty acids of marine and plant origin were found to have strong anti-bacterial activity against a range of oral pathogens, according to the US research.

EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), as well as their fatty acid ethyl esters could inhibit the growth of oral pathogens, including Streptococcus mutans, Candida albicans, and Porphyromonas ginigivalis at relatively low doses.

Dr Brad Huang and Dr Jeff Ebersole from the Center for Oral Health Research at the University of Kentucky’s College of Dentistry,  wrote: ‘To date, this is the first study to demonstrate the significant anti-bacterial activity of omega-3 fatty acids and their esters against oral pathogens.’

The new study looked at the effects of EPA, DHA, ALA and their fatty acid ethyl esters, ALAEE, EPAEE, DHAEE on a range of oral pathogens.

All the omega-3 compounds studies were found to exhibit strong anti-bacterial activity.

Dr Huang confirmed that work in this area was ongoing and expanding.

He adds: ‘We currently plan to explore this new activity and will try to translate this into products, such as chewing gum. Of course, we plan to study and answer those questions about the optimal dosages, pharmacokinetics, the delivery into the oral cavity, and what kind of in vivo dosage/effect to expect, and so on.’

The study was published in Molecular Oral Microbiology.

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