Could Poor Oral Health be Related to Metabolic Syndrome? 

Having swollen or bleeding gums? No one likes that. Gum disease can involve pesky symptoms such as swollen inflamed gums, gums that bleed easily, bad breath, and painful chewing, for instance. A main cause of gum disease is dental plaque, which with good oral health practices can be managed and prevented! When dental plaque adheres to the surfaces of your teeth and is not removed, this can lead to gum inflammation. Gingivitis can progress into periodontal disease, in which irreversible bone loss and tissue damage begins to occur. Unfortunately, gum disease can lead to permanent tooth loss. But, that's not all! Periodontal disease has also been found in many research studies to be linked with several other systemic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and now also metabolic syndrome, according to a new study.

Researchers at Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) found that a common bacteria known to cause periodontal disease, Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis), also has the capability to cause skeletal muscle metabolic dysfunction through changing an individual's gut microbiome.The purpose of their study, according to the study's author Kazuki Watanabe, was to determine how infection with periodontal bacteria may lead to metabolic changes in skeletal muscle and ultimately lead to metabolic syndrome. However, the study reports that a direct link between the periodontal bacteria and the metabolic function of skeletal muscle has not been proven yet.

The oral cavitiy is a true window into the rest of the body. Oral inflammation caused by periodontal bacteria can influence inflammation within other parts of the body, and the study reports that it can lead to increases in body weight and increased insulin resistance. The body's resistance to insulin is a huge part of type 2 diabetes, in addition to the development of metabolic syndrome.

What's Metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome consists of multiple conditions in association with each other, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, obesity, abnormal fat metabolism, and systemic inflammation.

The researchers studied individuals with metabolic syndrome and discovered that these individuals had high antibody titers against P. gingivalis, meaning they had likely been infected with the bacteria. In addition, they found a positive correlation between the antibody titers and increased insulin resistance. The researchers then observed mice given both a high fat diet, a common risk factor for developing metabolic syndrome, and P. gingivalis injected orally. As a result, they discovered that the mice developed an increased insulin resistance, fat infiltration, and lower uptake of sugar into the skeletal muscle creating metabolic dysfunction when compared to mice not infected with the bacteria. The researchers noted a significant difference in the gut microorganisms in the mice infected with P. gingivalis versus the mice that were not infected.

So, one important thing that the researchers noted in their study is how periodontal disease can impact other parts of the body, and not just the mouth. More research is needed to investigate the link between periodontal disease and metabolic syndrome.

This pandemic has impacted us all, but our community is indeed all stronger together. Our team at WDG always has your safety and health as our top priority, and we have implemented additional safety measures and equipment to help prevent the transmission of all infections, including COVID-19. Wellesley Dental Group has completely reopened since June 8th, 2020 for all dental procedures and cleanings! Thank you for entrusting your health and dental care to us at Wellesley Dental Group.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Derek, and Dr. Emad is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Stephens would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.


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