High-fat diet: risk of periodontitis!

Researchers at Inserm (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale) have just highlighted the link between a very fatty diet and periodontitis.

Researchers have just demonstrated, via their work published in the journal PloS One, that the modification of the bacterial flora in the mouth is at the origin of the inflammation of the periodontium, the supporting tissue of the teeth made up of the gum, cementum and alveolar bone. This inflammation, called periodontitis, can lead to loosening and even tooth loss if left untreated.
In recent years it has been shown that a high-fat diet changes the composition of the intestinal bacterial flora. This change favours the appearance and proliferation of pro-inflammatory bacteria that cause diabetes. These bacteria(Fusobacterium nucleatum, Prevotella intermedia) are also located in the mouth. The team of Rémy Burcelin and Dr. Vincent Blasco found that these same bacteria were at the origin of periodontal disease. Hence a common association between diabetes and periodontitis in patients.

Thus, these scientists were able to observe via tests carried out on laboratory mice that the local inflammation created by bacteria in the teeth, or in the intestine in the case of diabetes, is partly controlled by oestrogens, hormones present in men and especially in women, and which are thought to have a regulatory function on the local immune system. Hence the need to maintain a diverse flora in order to protect the tissues of the skin, mouth and intestine. This requires a varied diet, reasonable hygiene and moderate use of antibiotics. In order to prevent the risk of periodontitis, it is recommended to brush the teeth thoroughly at least twice a day and to consult a dentist once or twice a year. It should be noted that periodontal disease increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, lung disease and premature birth, and is responsible for 14,000 deaths per year in France.

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