Poor oral hygiene linked to metabolic syndrome

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Gum disease may lead to the development of metabolic syndrome, new research suggests.

According to the latest research from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU), there is a link between the bacteria that causes periodontal disease and skeletal muscle metabolic dysfunction – the precursor to metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome refers to a combination of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure (hypertension). It increases one’s risk of later developing stroke and coronary hear disease, for example.

Researchers analysed antibody titers to Porphyromonas gingivalis – the bacteria that causes gum disease – in the blood of those with metabolic syndrome.

‘Striking results’

They discovered a correlation between the titers and heightened insulin resistance. These results revealed that patients with metabolic syndrome likely underwent infection with Porphyromonas gingivalis. As a result, they built up an immune response with antibodies against the germ.

Professor Sayaka Katagiri is a corresponding author of the study.

‘These are striking results. They provide a mechanism underlying the relationship between infection with the periodontal bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis and the development of metabolic syndrome and metabolic dysfunction in skeletal muscle,’ he said.

Lower risk

This comes as research reveals that infants who are exclusively breastfed for six months are less likely to develop dental disease. 

Researchers analysed the link between breastfeeding and dental disease in more than 24,000 children.

As a result, they discovered that the prevalence of dental decay, toothaches and cavities stood at 9%. In comparison, the team found these conditions were more common in infants who were never breastfed (12.3%).

Those babies who were exclusively breastfed were, therefore, 28% less likely to have dental decay.


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