Why Gum Disease Causes Heart Disease

eases like heart disease may convince you to never skip oral hygiene again Medical science has firmly estab- lished a link between periodontal (gum) disease and inflammatory conditions such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. But the mechanism linking these conditions has remained a medical mystery -- until now.

T Researchers at the University of To-

ronto's Faculty of Dentistry have identified what they believe is the correlation be- tween these conditions -- blood cells called neutrophils -- and their findings present the first evidence pointing to the body's own immune system response. The controlled clinical experiment, conducted in collaboration with top den- tists from Sinai Health Systems and Prin- cess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, indicates that neutrophil immune cell activity is the "missing link" connecting periodontal disease with other inflamma- tory diseases. Their findings were pub- lished in the October 2020 Journal of Dental Research.

When the Immune System Uses Excessive Force

Neutrophils are a type of white blood Daniel Lackey, FNP-C Daniel Lackey, FNP-C

Daniel Lackey, FNP-C is a board certified Nurse Practitioner. His background is in Emergency Medi- cine, with 5 years of experience as an ER nurse. His nurse practitioner degree includes specialties in fami- ly practice and adult gerontological acute care. Following his true pas- sion, however, he also obtained a certification in functional medi- cine. He finds it is truly rewarding and efficacious to address the root cause of illness instead of viewing the body as separate systems.

336.768.3335 JANUARY 2021 11

hink skipping your nightly dental care routine is no big deal? The results of a recent study linking gum health to inflammatory dis-

cell that is activated to respond to areas of acute inflammation.When neutrophils, which play a critical role in immune sys- tem response, were activated to fight infec- tions from active cases of gum disease, researchers observed a hyperactive, sys- temic response that they believe makes the body susceptible to damage from second- ary inflammatory conditions. The study's senior author, Professor

Michael Glogauer, put it this way: "It's almost as if these white blood cells are in second gear when they should be in first."

Produced initially in in vivo models,

the findings were confirmed through a controlled clinical experiment involving mice with induced periodontal disease (PD). A human gingivitis study was con- ducted in tandem, with volunteers being instructed to cease all oral hygiene prac- tices for three weeks to induce gingivitis, followed by a two-week recovery period. Blood and tissue samples were taken from the mice; blood and saliva samples were also collected from human gingivitis study volunteers. Multiplex cytokine

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