Dental researchers are reporting that resolvins, products derived from omega-3 fatty acids, may have the ability to restore the soft tissue and even bone lost in periodontal (gum) disease.
Gum disease is an inflammatory condition often associated with the subsequent development of type 2 diabetes.
Until now, gum disease has been treated-not cured or even necessarily halted-by regular flossing, brushing, and regular visits to the dental hygienist for teeth cleaning.
But scientists from Boston University are reporting that the recent discovery of resolvins may offer healthcare providers with the first tool ever that could not only halt the progress of gum disease, but even reverse it.
Resolvins are products of two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These acids keep blood triglycerides in control and are thought to inhibit the progression of atherosclerosis. EPA and DHA also have anti-inflammatory effects and are often used treat such inflammatory conditions as Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Resolvins derived from EPA are called RvE1 (“Resolvins of the E series”), while resolvins derived from DHA of called RvD (“Resolvins of the D series”).
In a previous study, dental researchers induced gum disease in rabbits through the application of the same bacteria that causes the disease in humans. They showed that the application of RvE1 not only provided protection against soft tissue and bone loss, but actually restored the lost soft tissue and bone to healthy levels.
Their latest study confirmed that another type of resolvins, RvD1, also provided protection against the disease.
With two types of resolvins showing great utility in treating gum disease, the upshot is that dentists and oral surgeons may soon have a powerful new tool at their disposal for treating a disease that often leads to tooth loss and bone degeneration. For people with diabetes who have to worry about the consequences of any inflammation in the body, such a therapy would be very welcome.