Omega-3 fatty acids help against gingivitis and periodontitis
Flax oil and ground flax seed heal bleeding gums
Being the translator and co-author of a book on the Budwig diet which centers on the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids administered via a mixture of flax oil plus cottage cheese as well as flaxseed, a friend drew my attention to a number of testimonials testifying to the value of flax oil in reversing gum disease, including of long standing.
Inflammation is believed to be at the root of many illnesses, including periodontal disease and cardiopathies such as endocarditis and myocarditis (and interestingly, there is evidence that gum disease could be an independent risk factor for heart disease). It is thought that flaxseed oil helps heal gums because its abundance of omega3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the body.
Omega-3 deficiency seems to be widespread. Perhaps the simplest and most economical cure for omega-3 deficiency is (for a person of average weight and height) taking about 2 tablespoons a day of flaxseed oil, with freshly ground flaxseeds due to its additional constituents perhaps an even better choice.
Gum disease reversed thanks to flaxseed oil and/or freshly ground flaxseed
Success reports of dramatically improved gum health thanks to flaxseed include inter alia
- gum surgery no longer needed one month after starting to take flaxseed oil (2 tbs per day)
- someone who had red, swollen gums for years in spite of careful dental hygiene measures started to take 2 tbs of flax oil a day. Within four days their gums were pink and healthy looking and barely bleeding after brushing and flossing.
- another person after starting to take a couple of tablespoons of flax oil per day plus ground flax seed ad libitum saw their gum pockets much improved and root planing (both painful and expensive) no longer recommended (this person had simultaneously started using a Sonicare toothbrush)
- A male with a history of bleeding gums most of his adult life: while nothing else had helped, his gums stopped bleeding after taking flaxseed oil. When the flaxseed oil was interrupted, his gums soon deteriorated again.
- A female with bleeding, painful gums (since her junior high school days) saw them cured in three days thanks to flaxseed oil. She had been advised to get a gum graft and started on two tbs of flaxseed oil a day (later reduced to one tablespoon). She also added using a Sonicare toothbrush and flossing more vigorously, but when she had tried the latter beforehand it had actually increased her bleeding.
- A male, age 36, good dental hygiene (a regular flosser who never suffered from bleeding gums). His gums neither looked inflamed nor bled upon being prodded but had numerous 3mm and several 4mm pockets. X-rays showed his bone structure to be like that of a 55 year old. Dentist ascribed his condition to genetics (genetic bone loss). Against hygienist’s advice, he discontinued using a Sonicare toothbrush - his hunch that it was the cause of the painful sensitivity along his gum line proved correct since it vanished after discontinuing the Sonicare and using a manual toothbrush. He started taking 3 tbs of flax oil and 1g of fish oil per day for six months.
Result: All his gum pockets had shrunk to 1-2mm. He stopped taking the fish oil but continued the flax oil. Pleasant side effect: his eczema that he had suffered with for years cleared up.
- The optimum daily amount of flaxseed to take appears to be upwards from 2 tablespoons.
- Some object to the flavor and use for instance the berry-flavored flax oil which tastes good. Another trick: swallow the oil quickly in water and immediately drink something strong-tasting afterwards to mask the taste.
- Some replace the daily 2 tbs of flax oil altogether with ground flaxseed, adding it for instance to yogurt or their breakfast cereal. Make absolutely sure to freshly grind the flaxseed, i.e. do not use preground flax seeds.
Side benefits reported from taking flaxseed oil / ground flaxseed
- hair and nails greatly improved after taking ground flax seed
- training injuries healing faster
- weight loss, less desire for food (such as when taking flaxseed oil when feeling hungry outside mealtimes)
- very dry skin normalizing
- taking two tablespoons a day of flaxseed oil provided relief from severe lichen planus attack in the mouth within three month
- improved balance according to amount of flaxseed oil taken (in the case reported, the optimum dose was 3 tablespoons a day of flaxseed oil)
- joint pain (knee, hip, shoulder) substantially reduced
This review showed a number of benefits of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in gingivitis, recurrent aphthous stomatitis, and periodontal diseases observed both in humans and animals (where they even suppressed bone resorption and promoted bone formation).
This study done on 9,182 people found that higher intakes of DHA and EPA (which are both omega-3 fatty acids) were associated with a lower incidence of periodontitis.
This study came to a similar conclusion as the foregoing, i.e. that those who consumed more omega-3 fatty acids were 23 to 30 percent less likely to suffer from gum disease than those who consumed the least amounts.
Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids
Flax seeds are probably the easiest and cheapest way to obtain these fatty acids. Reports on the gum health effects of fatty fish (salmon) or fish oil capsules vary widely, so they may or may not work for you.
An easily-available supplement (flaxseed oil) seems to be able to quickly cure a common problem (bleeding gums)
Addendum: on the value of brushing and flossing
For most people, brushing and flossing DOES appear to reduce bleeding gums, when done regularly.
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3 Ground flaxseed oxidises within minutes and becomes harmful to health. Make sure to quickly immerse it in fluid or optimally in a flaxseed oil / cottage cheese mix.