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Potential Impact of Diet On Alveolar Bone Health


fluffy mouse ballWith mounting evidence of the potential interrelationship between oral and systemic health, there is reason to suspect that obesity and diet may impact periodontal bone loss. In a study published online in the Journal of Dental Research, “Diet-Induced Obesity and its Differential Impact on Periodontal Bone Loss,” researchers sought to investigate the impact of certain elevated fatty acid levels on alveolar bone loss in a Porphyromonas gingivalis-induced model of periodontal disease.

Working to better understand the cellular mechanisms in bone-resorbing osteoclasts and bone-forming osteoblasts in mice, researchers from Columbia University in New York and the Forsyth Institute in Boston fed three groups of mice different diets. One was given a palmitic acid (PA)-enriched, high-fat diet. Another was placed on an oleic acid (OA)-enriched, high-fat diet, and the third group received a normal caloric diet. The mice were infected orally with P. gingivalis to induce alveolar bone loss at Week 10 of the 16-week study.

At 16 weeks, each group’s fat percentages were analyzed, and serum inflammation and bone metabolism markers were measured. The researchers found that the mice on the high-fat diets weighed significantly more than the group on the normal caloric diet. Furthermore, mice on the PA-enriched diet experienced a significantly greater incidence of alveolar bone loss. Bacterial challenges decreased bone metabolism markers in all groups. The results led researchers to conclude that specific fatty acids (e.g., PA and OA) rather than weight gain and obesity alone, impact bone metabolism and, therefore, influence alveolar bone loss.

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