Carbs, sugary foods may influence poor oral health in postmenopausal women

Tara Evans/Unsplash

A new study has revealed that eating a high intake of sugary and high glycemic load (GL) foods – such as baked goods, soda, and non-fat yogurts – may influence poor oral health and lead to adverse health outcomes in older women due to the affect they have on the oral microbiome.

Published in the journal, Scientific Reports, and conducted by researchers at the University of Buffalo in New York, carbohydrates and sucrose were evaluated to see if there was an association with the diversity and composition of oral bacteria.

Researchers analyzed data from 1,204 postmenopausal women collected by the Women’s Health Initiative, a national study focused on health outcomes of postmenopausal women. Participants also administered a modified food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) asking them to recall their typical diet during the previous three months. In addition, samples were taken from participants’ subgingival plaque.

The study found that total carbohydrate and GL, as well as intake of the disaccharides sucrose and lactose were inversely associated with bacteria alpha-diversity in the subgingival microbiome.

In addition, according to the study, the beta-diversity of the microbiome varied by total carbohydrates and GL, but also by certain carbohydrate subtypes (sucrose, galactose, and fiber). Researchers observed that intake of the total carbohydrates, GL, sucrose, and lactose to be significantly associated with the relative abundance of specific operational taxonomic units (OTUs) estimating bacterial species.