Dental health and diet may have an impact on the development and severity of psoriasis, according to a study by dermatologists at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes thick, itchy patches of red skin with silvery scales and affects more than 8 million Americans.
The study found that psoriasis patients who rated their gum health as poor or very poor exhibited significantly more severe psoriasis symptoms than those with healthy gums. Conversely, patients who reported consuming fresh fruit at least once a day experienced milder psoriasis symptoms. The study was published in the Dermatology Online Journal.
“Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease so although it often presents as red, scaly patches on the skin, we know that the causes and consequences are more than skin deep.” Dr. Benjamin Kaffenberger, dermatologist, Ohio State Wexner Medical Center
Psoriasis, which can last a lifetime, is caused by a problem with the immune system. In a process called cell turnover, skin cells that grow deep in the skin rise to the surface. Normally this takes a month but with psoriasis, it happens in just a few days because the cells rise too quickly. Treatments include creams, medicines and ultraviolet light therapy.
“We’re looking for some sort of trigger that sets off the immune system. Because strep throat is one of the known triggers and the microbiome of bacteria in the mouth is much more complex, that became our starting point,” Kaffenberger said. “We wondered if poor dental health could be a risk factor for psoriasis.”