Does Poor Dental Health Cause Multiple Sclerosis?

Published:February 7th, 2012

Current research indicates that oral bacteria could initiate or exacerbate autoimmune deficiencies like multiple sclerosis (MS). Multiple sclerosis is a disease where a person’s immune system attacks the brain and spinal cord. It affects nearly 1 in 700 people in U.S. Patients suffering from multiple sclerosis will exhibit a variety of neurological symptoms such as difficulty in moving, muscle weakness and difficulty in speech.

What Causes Multiple Sclerosis

Even though doctors are in agreement about the processes and symptoms of MS, they have long been in the dark as to the factors which make the body’s immune system start to attack its own tissues. According to author of the study, Frank Nichols, professor University of Connecticut, even though it may be clear that the immune system in most individuals has the potential to attack self-tissues, the instigating factors that initiate and propagate MS in a select group of individual is unknown.

Multiple Sclerosis and Dental Health

However, current research has found a link between the development of MS and an oral bacterium known as Porphyromas gingivalis. This bacterium is common in humans, and generates a unique type of lipid, known as phosphorylated dihydroceramides (DHCs) which enhance inflammatory response. Researchers administered a dose of DHCs to a mouse model to determine whether these lipids accentuate immune-mediated damage. The results of the study showed that the severity of MS was enhanced by the addition of DHCs lipids.

Final Note

Although this result signifies a moment of triumph for people suffering from multiple sclerosis and those at risk of developing the condition, more research still needs to be done before the results can be used in the prevention and treatment of multiple sclerosis.

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