Carbohydrates and sugary foods may play a role in poor oral health: study | Health

Scientists at the University at Buffalo have found that increased intake of sugary, high-glycemic-load foods, such as donuts and other nonfat yogurts, may influence poor oral health and, perhaps, systemic health outcomes in older women due to the influence that these foods have. in the oral microbiome.


The study was published in the journal ‘Scientific Reports’.

The team investigated whether carbohydrates and sucrose or table sugar were associated with the diversity and composition of oral bacteria in a sample of 1,204 postmenopausal women using data from the Women’s Health Initiative.

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It was the first study to examine carbohydrate intake and the subgingival microbiome in a sample composed exclusively of postmenopausal women. The study was unique in that the samples were taken from subgingival plaque, which is found under the gums, rather than salivary bacteria.

“This is important because the oral bacteria involved in periodontal disease primarily reside in subgingival plaque,” said study first author Amy Millen, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health in the College of Public Health and Professions at the Health of the UB.


“Looking at measurements of salivary bacteria might not tell us how oral bacteria are related to periodontal disease because we’re not looking at the right environment inside the mouth,” he added.

The research team reported positive associations between total carbohydrates, glycemic load, and sucrose and Streptococcus mutans, a contributor to dental caries and some types of cardiovascular disease, a finding that confirms previous observations. But they also saw associations between carbohydrates and the oral microbiome that are not as well established.

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The researchers noted that Leptotrichia spp., which has been associated with gingivitis, a common gum disease, was positively associated with sugar intake in some studies. The other bacteria they identified as being associated with carbohydrate intake or glycemic load had not been previously appreciated as contributors to periodontal disease in the literature or in this cohort of women, according to Millen.

“We examined these bacteria in relation to habitual carbohydrate intake in postmenopausal women across a wide variety of carbohydrate types: total carbohydrate intake, fiber intake, disaccharide intake, simple sugar intake,” Millen said.

“No other study has examined oral bacteria in relation to such a wide variety of carbohydrate types in one cohort. We also looked at associations with glycemic load, which is not well studied in relation to the oral microbiome,” he added.

The key question now is what all this means for health in general, and that is still not so easy to understand.

“As more studies are done looking at the oral microbiome using similar sequencing techniques and the progression or development of periodontal disease over time, we might start to make better inferences about how diet is related to the oral microbiome and periodontal disease,” Millen concluded.



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