Peanut Butter May Reduce Gum Disease

A study involving 9,000 adults conducted at the Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health found eating foods containing polyunsaturated fatty acids such as peanut butter and salmon reduced gum disease. The specific fatty acids associated with gum disease reduction were docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

Researcher Asghar Z. Naqvi said, “To date, the treatment of periodontitis has primarily involved mechanical cleaning and local antibiotic application. Thus, a dietary therapy, if effective, might be a less expensive and safer method for the prevention and treatment of periodontitis. Given the evidence indicating a role for n-3 fatty acids in other chronic inflammatory conditions, it is possible that treating periodontitis with n-3 fatty acids could have the added benefit of preventing other chronic diseases associated with inflammation, including stoke as well.” Source: (

The study was conducted between 1999 and 2004. Subjects received dental examinations and were interviewed about their dietary intake to estimate intake of DHA, EPA and linoleic acid including supplementation of those acids from non-food sources. There was about a 20 percent reduction in the number of subjects with gum disease for those with the highest DHA intake. One of the researchers also observed the potential benefit of gum disease reduction occurred with a modest intake of DHA, and EPA.

In addition, the positive effect was seen with supplements containing DHA and EPA. If there is a positive effect from taking supplements such as fish oil containing DHA and EPA, they could be an alternative to peanut butter or other nuts for those with nut allergies. For vegetarians, DHA can be ingested in pill form made from microalgae, which is a non-animal source. Otherwise, it is also found in cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring. DHA intake could also lower heart disease risk. EPA is also found in cold-water fish, and microalgae.

It is worth mentioning, foods containing peanut butter but also high in sugar such as desserts, or candies containing peanut butter most likely are not going to have the same benefit, as gum disease and high sugar intake are linked. So plain peanut butter with a low sugar level would probably be best.

The full article title is “n-3 Fatty Acids and Periodontitis in US Adults” by Asghar Z. Naqvi, MPH, MNS; Catherine Buettner, MD, MPH; Russell S. Phillips, MD; Roger B. Davis, ScD; and Kenneth J. Mukamal, MD, MPH, MA. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 110, Issue 11 (November 2010)

Image Credit: PiccoloNamek

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Melissa M.about a year ago

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Terry V.
Terry V4 years ago

MAY being the key word

Lynn C.
Lynn C4 years ago

Try PBJ grilled. Slather each side with the grease of your choice - I use organic butter - and toast in a skillet. Huge amount of calories, full of the wrong kind of fats, etc., etc., but, oh does it taste delicious!

Jude Hand
Judith Hand4 years ago

Happy to know this and it was a nice change to have to tune up my brain a bit to fully appreciate the article. Thanks.

Christine Stewart
Christine S4 years ago

I love peanut butter! But please do not buy "natural no-stir" peanut butter. It contains palm oil, and rain forests in Indonesia have been burned to the ground to make way for oil palm plantations. Natural peanut butter that you have to stir, like Laura Scudder's, is fine. Regular Jif and Skippy are fine. But Nutella, and "natural no-stir" Jif and Skippy all contain palm oil. Save an orangutan with your choice of peanut butter!

J.L. A.
JL A4 years ago

good to know

Penny Ranger
Penny Ranger4 years ago

I love all brands of pb

a             y m.
g d c4 years ago


who knew?

Rajee Seetharam
Rajee Seetharam5 years ago

My daughter says Jiff is the best brand.....thanks for the post...its good to peanut butter jelly sandwich....