Improving dental health and diet could help with the treatment for psoriasis, according to a study by American dermatologists.
Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes thick, itchy patches of red skin with silvery scales.
According to the NHS, psoriasis effects around 2% of people in the UK.
The skin disease usually starts in adults under 35 years old, and affects men and women equally.
The study found psoriasis patients who rated their gum health as poor or very poor exhibited significantly more severe psoriasis symptoms than those with healthy gums.
On the other hand, 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 caused by a problem with the immune system.
Treatment for psoriasis
‘Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease so although it often presents as red, scaly patches on the skin,’ said Benjamin Kaffenberger, a dermatologist and study lead at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.
‘We know that the causes and consequences are more than skin deep
‘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.
‘We wondered if poor dental health could be a risk factor for psoriasis.’
Research carried out
A lifestyle and diet questionnaire was sent to 265 patients at Ohio State’s dermatology clinics.
The study surveyed 100 patients with psoriasis and 165 without the disease.
It showed poor dental and oral health is associated with those who had psoriasis.
Kaffenberger explained: ‘Patients who had more severe psoriasis were more likely to report that their gums were in worse condition than patients who didn’t have mild to moderate psoriasis in the first place.
‘Patients who had higher fruit consumption reported less significant psoriasis.’
Therefore, fruit and potentially fresh foods are an associated protective factor.
The study also reinforced data from previous studies that found family history of psoriasis, smoking and obesity were significant predictors of psoriasis.
Kaffenberger hopes to expand the study outside Ohio State’s dermatology clinics.
He suggest having dermatologists screen for dental health and counsel psoriasis patients for improved dietary health.
‘The key is to protect your gums and your mouth by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing.
‘Lifestyle changes include quitting smoking, avoiding high alcohol consumption and properly managing diabetes,’ he added.