Eating Omega-3 fatty acid rich food can help ward off gum diseases, a new research suggests. Even having a moderate amount is beneficial.

Researchers for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey divided nearly 9,200 adults aged 20 and up between 1999 and 2004 into three groups based on their consumption of omega-3 fatty acids. It has been found that participants in the middle and upper third segment of omega-3 fatty acid consumption were between 23 percent and 30 percent less likely to have gum disease than those who consumed less.

Omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are associated with less gum disease, according to the findings.

Dr Kenneth Mukamal, associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School said that eating a very feasible amount of fatty fish seems to have a lot of benefit. Since the study was based on the snapshot of a single day's diet, researchers could not determine exactly how much fish oil people should consume regularly, he added.

The American Heart Association has also issued guidelines about Omega-3 fatty acids and recommends eating fatty fish at least twice a week to maintain good health. The benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids are many. Dr Mukamal said there has been evidence that it prevents sudden death caused by heart rhythm disturbances. It can also reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids rich fish are sardines, mackerel and swordfish. The vegetarian source for omega-3 fatty acid is some nuts and seeds such as walnuts and flax seed.

In the study, researchers also took into account other factors that could be responsible for gum disease, such as age, income, education and other health and socioeconomic conditions.