The antibacterial activity of various saturated fatty acids (SFA) and unsaturated fatty acids (USFA) against different oral pathogens which are implicated in the cause of dental caries, stomatitis, gingivitis, and periodontitis was examined.

The saturated fatty acids Pa, StA and ArA, and the unsaturated omega-7 fatty acids PLA and omega-9 fatty acids OA showed either none to low antimicrobial activity against all of the 12 oral pathogenic strains used in this study.

In contrast, the omega-3 PUFAs, ALA, SDA, EPA and DHA, and the omega-6 PUFAs, LA, GLA, and AA showed considerable antimicrobial activity against 8, 7, 6 and 5 strains, and 6, 10 and 5 strains, respectively.

In particular, the omega-3 and omega-6 PUFAs showed strong antimicrobial activity against Porphyromonas gingivalis KCTC 381, the cause of periodontitis, and against Aggregatibacter segnis KCTC 5968, Fusobacterium nucleatum subsp. Polymorphum KCTC 5172 and Prevotella intermedia KCTC 25611, all organisms implicated in the cause of gingivitis. To date, no bacterial resistance to free fatty acids has been encountered and no resistance phenotype has emerged.

Therefore, these results suggest that PUFAs may be useful in the development of therapeutic agents for oral diseases, and in particular, in the development of agents that have minimal side effects and against which there is no bacterial resistance