Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

Oral hygiene and health.

Oral hygiene has been linked to a number of health issues/benefits, but the difficulty has been proving whether the link is cause and effect or something else.

For example, a study found that Alzheimer’s patients were 8 times more likely to suffer from gum disease.

But does that prove that gum disease is one of the triggers that cause Alzheimer’s, or is it that Alzheimer’s patients forget to clean their teeth, leading to gum disease?

The link to type-2 diabetes is a little clearer. Although cause and effect has yet to be established, in May 2010 Dr Terry Simpson established that treating gum disease increased insulin sensitivity and improved management of blood glucose levels.

Now Prof Howard Jenkins has established a cause and effect link in heart disease.

Plaque and gum disease involve Streptococcus bacteria, and provide a route into the bloodstream. In blood, Prof Jenkins found that rather than the immune system tackling the bacteria, blood platelets clump together to form a coat around the Streptococcus. Among other effects, this protects bacteria from antibiotics.

And blood platelets clumping together is implicated in heart attacks and strokes.

Gum disease isn’t the major risk factor in diabetes, heart attacks and strokes (or Alzheimer’s should that turn out to be the case). But it is an easily preventable one.

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September 6, 2010 - Posted by | Alzheimer's, CVD - cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, Gum disease, Health, Howard Jenkins, Stroke, Success, Terry Simpson

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