AAAS 2021: OSU professor shares oral microbiome facts

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A professor of periodontology at Ohio State University (OSU) gave the scientific community an update on the relationship between oral and overall health at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting, being held February 8-11.

In a session titled "Killer Smile: The Link Between the Oral Microbiome and Systemic Diseases," Dr. Purnima Kumar shared that the mouth is a vibrant microbial community, which can explain a lot about patients' overall health. In her February 8 presentation, Kumar lectured on the basic relationship between the oral microbiome and systemic diseases.

Microbes living in the oral cavity have been linked to numerous health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and pregnancy complications, Kumar noted. Other facts mentioned in her presentation include the following:

  • Oral bacteria use oxygen to breathe and break down simple molecules of carbohydrates and proteins to stay alive.
  • Discontinuing toothbrushing for even a few days can trigger changes, cutting off the oxygen supply and causing germs to move to a fermentative state.
  • These changes create toxins and byproducts that stimulate the immune system, leading to inflammation and a shift in the bacterial profile.

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