Oral Health

Oral Cavity and Cardiometabolic Health

A healthy equilibrium between the host and oral bacteria is a prerequisite for healthy periodontium. There are over 700 different bacterial species in a healthy oral cavity, which makes them the most diverse component of oral microbial biofilms. Only a minor part of the oral bacteria floats freely in saliva, the majority of them are colonized in biofilms on hard and soft-tissues of the oral cavity. The relation between the humans and oral bacteria is mainly symbiotic. Disturbance in this healthy equilibrium, either because of the long-term accumulation of pathogenic biofilms (dysbiosis) around the teeth, or weakening of the immune response, or simultaneous occurrence of both conditions, may end up with periodontal diseases. 

Periodontal diseases are chronic infection-induced inflammatory diseases, which can severely affect tooth-supporting tissues, especially the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. Periodontal destruction occurs as the result of an inflammatory cascade, where specific, especially gram-negative anaerobic bacteria present in elevated numbers in the subgingival microbiota induce the production of inflammatory mediators by the host. When left untreated, periodontitis not only cause teeth loss, but it also creates low-grade systemic inflammation and distant colonization of periodontitis-associated bacteria, which are both related to the initiation or development of various systemic diseases. The relevance of saliva microbiome for human health is possible, since about 1.5 liters of saliva is swallowed daily and the translocation and colonization of oral bacteria into gut is witnessed. One important mechanism behind systemic effects is due to the access of biologically active infectious and inflammatory material from periodontal lesions to the circulation. Accumulating evidence exists supporting the association between periodontitis and cardiometabolic syndrome, pregnancy complications, and even cancer. 

Our research group aims to obtain a wider view on the systemic consequences of periodontal infection, inflammation, in terms of their relationship with homeostasis of metabolic function and to clarify the predictability of impaired metabolic functions using salivary biomarkers or periodontitis.  

To reach these aims, our group created a multinational and multidisciplinary research environment. In addition, our group is involved in various Finnish Health Survey study groups, and use the materials from Health2000, FINRISK2007, and TerveSuomi2023 surveys, and also from FinnGen research.

Our research group can host a post-doctoral researcher with a dental, medical, or biology background. Computational biology experience will be highly appreciated. 

Key words:
Periodontal diseases, Chronic inflammation, Infection-induced inflammation, Systemic effects, Salivary biomarkers, Periodontitis biomarkers
Selected publications:
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