swollen gums

Could Poor Oral Health be Related to Metabolic Syndrome? 

January 11th, 2021

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 smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com 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.






I’m pregnant! But what about oral health?

July 24th, 2013

During pregnancy, women tend to look towards an overall healthier way of living. Many primarily seek out medical professionals that can keep them on track with a good diet and care for the coming baby. However, many expecting mothers tend to put oral health on the back burner during pregnancy.


It is highly recommended that good oral health be maintained before, during and after pregnancy. Pregnancy is known to kick start hormonal changes that can increase the risk of gum disease, which can in turn affect the coming baby. Because dental procedures have the potential of influencing the baby’s growth and development, it is recommended that mothers should avoid dental treatments during critical times for the baby, notably the first trimester and second half of the third trimester. But, routine dental care can be done on mothers in their second trimester. This also means that expecting mothers should be extra careful in keeping up with good oral hygiene during these critical stages of pregnancy.


It is important to keep the dentist informed of all the drugs that are taken during pregnancy; this can range from medications and even prenatal vitamins that have been prescribed. Dentists can potential modify the dental treatment plan based off of the drugs that are ingested. There are key drugs, including tetracycline, which can influence the expecting child’s teeth and should be avoided during pregnancy.


With these pointers in mind, it is essential to understand that being pregnant does not mean that it is a ticket out of a dental appointment. In fact, it should be more of a reason to make a visit to the dentist. Regular gum exams are very important during this time, for hormonal changes increase the risk of periodontal disease. It is important to pay close attention to any changes in the gums, whether there are signs of swelling or even bleeding.


The months of pregnancy can be both an exciting and stressful time, but with proper maintenance of both oral and overall systemic health, expecting mothers are then set on a path to a smoother pregnancy.  If you have any more questions, feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group; they will be happy to answer your questionsContact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com









Bleeding Gums: What Can This Mean?

July 23rd, 2013

When the topic of oral health is brought up, the focus is usually placed on teeth and the possibility of getting cavities. However, there is definitely more to the mouth! Gums can be a good indicator of oral health as well as one’s overall health! Individuals may find that after brushing their gums may look red and they may even start bleeding. Many tend to dismiss these signs and just attribute them to good and thorough brushing. But wait! This is not the case.

First things first, there is a misconception that to get clean teeth, brushing needs to be done vigorously to get all the grime off. While afterwards your teeth may feel clean, your gums are not too pleased.

Remember: gums are made of soft tissue and when aggravated they can become sore and red. When choosing a toothbrush, it is important to opt for soft nylon bristle with blunt ends. Stores may carry brushes with medium or hard bristles; however they may damage the enamel on teeth and can cause swollen gums. The idea of being gentle goes the same for flossing. The goal of flossing is to remove leftover food and plaque stuck between teeth; it does not mean these particles need to be forcefully taken out. It is important to refrain from forcing the floss in between teeth; instead, carefully slide the floss up and down, following the curve of each tooth.

Aside from proper brushing and flossing, bleeding gums is actually a sign of gum disease. When proper dental hygiene is not practiced, bacteria takes over and plaque starts forming. The same bacteria that jumpstarts the formation of cavities as makes gums irritated and swollen. Bleeding gums is an early sign of gum disease, also know as gingivitis, and symptoms can be reversed with good oral hygiene. But if these symptoms are ignored, gingivitis can get worse, eventually leading to tooth loss. Be on the lookout for these symptoms:

- deep pockets between teeth and gums
- changes in the way teeth come together
- gums that bleed during/after toothbrushing
- shifting teeth
- red, swollen, tender gums

If you experience these symptoms, be sure to set up an appointment with the dentist to determine the necessary steps to keep these symptoms from getting worse. 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 smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com





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