You may have heard that your oral health is a gateway to the health of the rest of your body. Truly, when you have oral health problems, your entire body can suffer. That’s because the “oral biome” is often the first stop for good and bad bacteria entering your bloodstream via the gums. This means that nasty bacteria that are suspected to cause or contribute to everything from stroke to cancer to diabetes to Alzheimer’s can all enter the body through your gums. This is all the more reason to take excellent care of your teeth!
Now, a recent study by the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has discovered that good oral health can actually reduce the symptoms of the autoimmune disease psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes flareups of red, scaly patches. While experts still do not know what causes the disease, they have had some luck in identifying triggers that cause these flareups in affected people. Things like reducing alcohol consumption, losing weight and quitting smoking have all been shown to lessen the severity of psoriasis symptoms, though researchers are unsure why.
In the Ohio State study, researchers took a closer look at the oral biome, specifically at the bacteria found in the mouth. Study participants who reported poor oral hygiene or periodontal disease (periodontitis) had higher levels of bacteria in their mouths, and they also had more severe psoriasis symptoms.
Conversely, when patients adopted a better oral health routine, the symptoms of psoriasis lessened dramatically, just like they did when habits like smoking and drinking were cut out of the patients’ daily lives.
Though the researchers are not sure exactly which bacteria are responsible for causing flareups, nor are they sure why these bacteria are affecting psoriasis, they intend to conduct more studies on a national level.
Hopefully, this will encourage more patients to take better care of their teeth. After all, oral health doesn’t just affect the health of your mouth – it can also affect other systems of the body, including the autoimmune system and the severity of psoriasis.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Garcia, please call (305) 595-4616.