Thursday, January 18, 2024

Association of Poor Oral Health With Neuroimaging Markers of White Matter Injury in Middle-Aged Participants in the UK Biobank


In the early days of my postgraduate training, the concept of the "oral systemic connection" was not overly studied or emphasized.  Due to the history of the medical professions, for some reason in the middle ages dentistry and medicine split apart from each other and have stayed that way ever since.  That lead to the now almost unfathomable situation of a profession dedicated to the health of the oral cavity and the head & neck while a totally different medical profession was in charge of the rest of the body.

Due to that, dentistry and medicine often looked. at these systems as separate.  Thank goodness that has changed in the past 30 or so years.  Now professionals are trained (as they should be) to view the head & neck as connected to the rest of the body.

That's why I'm thrilled to see scientific papers that study those links as a way to improve overall health.  

Obviously, the mouth and the oral cavity are an opening to the environment outside the body and because of that many bacteria and other pathogens first penetrate the body through that link to the outside.  That means that oftentimes the things will cause problems in the oral cavity first and then progress to other parts of the body.

Over the years, researchers have found both chemicals and pathogens in areas that started in the oral cavity and then, once gaining a toehold there, move on to create serious problems in other parts of the body.  It's well established that oral pathogens can cause cardiovascular problems which can lead to the buildup of atherosclerotic plaques in blood vessels, especially in the coronary arteries that provide oxygen and nutrients to the cardiac muscle of the heart.  

However, those types of problems are just the "tip of the iceberg" and now researchers are investigating the connections between oral pathologies and the brain.

So without further ado, today I'd like to provide you a link to a paper that I personally find pretty interesting.  This paper is available on the website of "the most widely read and highly cited peer-reviewed neurology journal" appropriate titled "Neurology".

Here is the link.  It is fascinating reading...  

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