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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Minnesota: Oral Bacteria May Reveal Risk for Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease

Some scientists suspect that the presence of certain types of bacteria living in the digestive tract of people could signal an increasing risk for rising blood glucose levels and the onset of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

Researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health investigated this possible link by identifying the kinds of bacteria living in the mouths of study participants and tracking if they were associated with changes to glucose levels in future blood tests. Their findings were recently published in the Journal of Dental Research.

The human mouth harbors hundreds of different kinds of bacteria, and previous research suggests that bacterial imbalances in the body could create unhealthy conditions that eventually lead to diabetes.

To learn more about the role bacteria may play, associate professor Dr. Ryan Demmer led the Oral Infections, Glucose Intolerance and Insulin Resistance Study (ORIGINS). The research team enrolled 230 diabetes-free adults aged 20-55 years old to measure their levels of oral bacteria, known as their oral microbiome. Two years later, researchers measured the participant’s blood glucose levels to see if any of the bacteria were associated with rising blood glucose levels, a risk indicator for future diabetes development. 

The study found:

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