Health officials estimate more than 8 million Americans suffer from psoriasis, an autoimmune disease often reflected by red, scaly patches on the skin.
A new Ohio State University study suggests better dental hygiene and healthier lifestyle changes can improve or prevent the disease. Mike Foley reports.
Dental health and diet have a role in the development and severity of psoriasis, according to an Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center study. Researchers administered a lifestyle and diet questionnaire to 265 dermatology clinic patients, including 100 with the disease. People with poor gum health and oral pain were more likely to have severe psoriasis symptoms. In addition to brushing and flossing every day, experts found other healthy habits were associated with less severe cases. Dr. Benjamin Kaffenberger led the study.
“Patients that reported a higher intake of fruits on their report was actually a protective factor, so the patients that were showing higher consumptions were actually associated with less significant psoriasis,” Kaffenberger said. “Our more severe patients have a heavier weight that the patients that have less severe disease. So aspects to help with weight loss are very important in this disease and something I recommend for every single patient. The risks of us recommending this are that we’re going to benefit your overall health, so we ought to be doing it either way.”
Kaffenberger’s analysis also reinforced results from past studies that found family history, smoking, and obesity were significant predictors of psoriasis. He hopes to expand the new research to psoriasis patients across the country to learn what diets and lifestyle choices consistently help control the condition.
The study appears in the Dermatology Online Journal.