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n-3 Fatty Acids and Periodontitis in US Adults

      Abstract

      Background

      Periodontitis is a common, chronic inflammatory disease. Although n-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, it is unclear whether n-3 fatty acids can treat or prevent periodontitis.

      Method

      We studied 9,182 adults aged 20 years and older who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1999 and 2004. Periodontitis was assessed by dental exam and was defined as >4 mm pocket depth and >3 mm attachment loss in any one tooth. Intake of n-3 fatty acids was assessed by 24-hour dietary recall. We used multivariable logistic regression to estimate the associations between periodontitis and intakes of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and linolenic acid (LNA).

      Results

      The weighted prevalence and 95% confidence interval (CI) of periodontitis was 8.2% (95% CI 7.0 to 9.4). Compared with the lowest tertiles, the adjusted odds ratios for periodontitis associated with the highest tertiles of dietary n-3 intake were 0.78 (95% CI 0.61 to 1.00; P=0.009) for DHA, 0.85 (95% CI 0.67 to 1.08; P=0.10) for EPA, and 0.86 (95% CI 0.60 to 1.23; P=0.28) for LNA. The associations were little changed by multivariable adjustment or exclusion of individuals reporting use of dietary supplements containing DHA, EPA, or LNA.

      Conclusions

      In this nationally representative sample, higher dietary intakes of DHA and, to a lesser degree, EPA, were associated with lower prevalence of periodontitis. Interventional studies are needed to confirm the potential protective effects of n-3 fatty acids on periodontitis.
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      Biography

      A. Z. Naqvi is an instructor in medicine, Harvard Medical School, and a hospitalist, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA

      Biography

      C. Buettner is an instructor in medicine, Harvard Medical School, and an internist, Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA

      Biography

      R. S. Phillips is a professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, and chief, Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA

      Biography

      R. B. Davis is an associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School; director of biostatistics, Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; and an associate professor, Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA

      Biography

      K. J. Mukamal is an associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School; an internist, Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; and a visiting scientist, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA