Authors: Tim Sandle (Bio Products Laboratory, Elstree, UK)
There is a long-standing body of work demonstrating the relationship between periodontal (gum) bacteria and inflammation within the oral cavity (periodontitis, or pyorrhea).
More recent advances have shown how oral bacteria influence overall health more widely, especially where there is an imbalance of bacterial species and hence the form of the microbiome. Such an imbalance can systemically increase inflammatory mediators, such as TNF‐α. The consequence of this is that specific types of periodontal bacteria can trigger a rise in body weight. In turn this increases insulin resistance, and hence the possibility of developing type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is also a factor in the development of metabolic syndrome.