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 ResearchResearch AreasRelationship of Oral Pathogens to Systemic Disease     July 25, 2014  

“As one of the top oral biology departments in the country, students interact with some of the best in fundamental oral science.”

      Michael Russell
     Professor, Oral Biology

Relationships of Oral Pathogens to Systemic Diseases

Several faculty members of the Department of Oral Biology are investigating aspects of potentially important connections between poor oral health and systemic diseases.

One such study is the response of the periodontium to dental plaque by the process of inflammation.  Plaque is composed of numerous bacteria, comprising over 400 species, which tenaciously adhere to the tooth surface.  A consequence of this inflammatory process is ulceration of the gingival sulcular epithelium, which allows bacteria to enter the bloodstream.

Exposure to these bacteria over a long period of time (as is typical of people who do not receive regular dental care) may contribute to tissue injury, leading to systemic diseases such as myocardial infarction (heart attack), diabetes melitus (sugar), and low birth weight/prematurity.

Lung diseases such as hospital-acquired pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may also be associated with poor oral health, since the bacteria from the oral cavity can be aspirated into the lower airway.

 

DID YOU KNOW >

Mentoring

Every project in a mentorship program has an emphasis on publishing—the “currency” of science—with a view toward high-impact journals 

DID YOU KNOW >

Outnumbered

It has been determined that the human body contains more bacteria than cells of its own.

DID YOU KNOW >

Bone Loss

The bone loss in periodontal disease is due almost entirely to the exaggerated host immune response elicited to fight oral bacteria.

DID YOU KNOW >

Oral and Systemic Disease

Oral biology research at UB has provided provocative evidence that oral diseases such as periodontal disease can contribute to the initiation or progression of such systemic diseases as myocardial infarction, stroke, diabetes mellitus, and pneumonia. 

FACULTY VIEW >

Libuse Bobek

Professor

Every student has a primary mentor and a committee that is composed of at least three other members of the faculty who guide the students throughout the five or six years of study that it takes.

FACULTY VIEW >

Ernesto DeNardin

Professor

The unique thing about our PhD program is that, in most cases, the graduate students are also clinical residents, so they get a unique exposure to both worlds. 

FACULTY VIEW >

Mira Edgerton

Research Professor

I think as mentors at UB, our approach to scientific thought processes is our strength; we emphasize higher-order reasoning as an essential part of an approach to a problem.

FACULTY VIEW >

Frank Scannapieco

Professor and Chair

There's quite a diverse group of studies that we're working on. For example, we are now investigating the role of oral health in systemic disease, particularly the effects of oral health on hospital-acquired pneumonia.