Dr. Magryta: Oral health
In a recent Journal Nature Scientific Reports we find a study looking at the link between oral health, the microbes in the oral cavity and obesity.
Dr. Craig and colleagues looked at the oral microbiome of 229 mothers and 225 2-year-old children. They analyzed the intestinal microbiomes of the children with the intent of exploring the association — or lack thereof — as it relates to overgrowth and weight gain.
We know that oral health is related to heart disease as we age, especially heart attacks. What we do not know is does oral health affect weight gain.
Their data set showed a distinct association between certain oral bacterial types and diversity with weight gain in the children. The children had reduced microbial diversity and an elevated firmicutes to bacteroidetes ratio, which is well known to be associated with adult type obesity and disease.
The reasons behind the data are all hypothetical. I have reprinted some of the authors’ thoughts here for those that want the science heavy answers:
• increased oxidative stress
• low-grade systemic inflammation and insulin resistance
• higher gingival crevicular fluid
• Goodson and colleagues hypothesized that the oral microbiota could (a) affect the gastrointestinal tract to increase metabolic efficiency, resulting in increased fat storage; (b) affect leptin or ghrelin levels, resulting in increased appetite and food consumption; and/or (c) affect TNF and adiponectin pathways, resulting in insulin resistance and increased fat storage.
• Gingival inflammation and decrease in salivary secretion rate were also observed in children with obesity.
Based on much of the research that I have read to date, this effect is likely a combination of the passive transfer of a mother’s microbiome to her child in combination with a western style diet.
This research set again highlights the critical time of intervention: 1000 days before delivery of a child.
Dr. Chris Magryta is a physician at Salisbury Pediatric Associates. Contact him at email@example.com
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