Psoriasis: Brush and Floss Your Way to Better Skin?

Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 10:00 AM EDT
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About seven and a half million Americans have psoriasis and about 40 percent of those patients also have joint inflammation that produces painful arthritis symptoms. Now, new research suggests one surprising potential cause for the condition and some preventive measures patients can take.

For years Douglas Levin struggled with psoriatic arthritis.

Eventually, Levin adopted a healthier lifestyle to help counter the inflammation caused by his disease.

“Anytime you can control it by moderating your intake of food or other things you’re that much better off,” shared Levin.

Researchers know that a problem with the immune system can trigger psoriasis. Now, Ohio State medical dermatologist Benjamin Kaffenberger is studying a potential link between poor oral health, bacterial infections in the mouth, and psoriasis.

“When your body is attempting to fight this bacteria, probably it develops a little bit of a cross-reaction with the skin at the same time,” explained Dr. Kaffenberger.

Researchers surveyed 100 patients with psoriasis, and 165 without psoriasis about their lifestyle and diet. The results showed that poor dental and oral health, especially gum pain was associated with psoriasis.

“Unfortunately, a lot of patients don’t have good access to dental care, or maybe just are too busy at a certain time frame. So, they may not be getting that message when they have this disease in the first place,” illustrated Dr. Kaffenberger.

Patients who had higher fruit consumption reported less significant psoriasis. Researchers say that indicates fresh foods may be a protective factor. For Levin, lifestyle changes means psoriasis no longer controls his life or his time outdoors with his good boy.

The Ohio State University study also reinforced earlier studies that found family history of psoriasis, smoking and obesity could be predictors of the condition.

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