New Study Finds Poor Oral Health May Increase Risk of Heart Disease and Diabetes

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A team of researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University has found that poor oral hygiene may lead to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is characterized by high sugar and cholesterol levels in the blood, obesity, and high blood pressure. Its complications include the possibility of developing diabetes, heart disease, or having a stroke. In the new study, the researchers discovered how people with gum disease become more prone to developing this condition. Kazuki Watanabe, the lead author of the study, said that the team wanted to investigate the relationship between the bacteria that causes gum disease and metabolic syndrome. To find out how the bacteria is connected to metabolic syndrome, the researchers examined blood samples from respondents who have the condition. They checked the patients’ blood for antibodies that indicate that a person has had a gum infection. The researchers found that the antibodies were likely to be present in patients who were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. To understand exactly how the bacteria affects metabolism, the researchers also experimented on mice. They found that the bacteria can cause metabolic syndrome by changing the composition of microorganisms in the gut. These changes make it hard for the body to detect and use sugar in the blood, which may eventually lead to diabetes and other complications. Professor Sayaka Katagiri, one author of the study, said that the findings were impressive because they provided a clearer illustration of how gum infections correlate with metabolic syndrome. Previously, it was unclear exactly how gum infections cause weight gain and other complications.

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