American scientists suggest improving oral health could benefit psoriasis sufferers

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Scientists in America have suggested that improving dental health could have benefits for psoriasis sufferers.

Psoriasis is a skin condition, which affects around 2% of the UK population. It causes itchy, dry, scaly patches to develop on the skin and can affect all parts of the body. Most cases of psoriasis are found in young adults.

Many people who suffer from psoriasis struggle to manage flare-ups, which can be painful and difficult to treat because the symptoms are caused by an autoimmune response. Treatment options may be limited, but scientists in the US have discovered a link between poor dental health and severe psoriasis symptoms and a healthy diet and improved symptoms.

A new study, which was conducted by a team at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, found that sufferers who had poor oral health, most notably, gum disease, were likely to have more pronounced symptoms. In addition, those who had a healthier diet and consumed fresh fruit at least once a day were likely to have milder symptoms. 

Dermatologist and lead author of the study, Benjamin Kaffenberger, explained that the symptoms of psoriasis are visible on the skin, but there’s an underlying cause, which causes the immune system to react abnormally. The aim of the study was to try and identify potential triggers. In the case of dental health, the team wanted to find out if there was a connection between the complex microbiome of bacteria in the mouth and the severity of symptoms. Researchers already know that strep throat bacteria are a trigger, and they were keen to explore further. 

To gather information, 265 patients who attended dermatology clinics in Ohio were sent questionnaires. One hundred had psoriasis and 165 people did not have psoriasis. The results showed that those with psoriasis were more likely to have poor oral health.

The findings of the study have been published in the Dermatology Online Journal.

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