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Sugary Foods And Poor Dental Care Increase Risk Of NAFLD


Your sweet tooth and poor dental care could increase your chances of developing serious liver conditions. People of all ages with poor oral health, bleeding gums or loose teeth, have a 75% increased risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD) and liver cancer. Meanwhile, a study by a researcher at the University of California has linked regular consumption of added sugar to a number of serious conditions, including NAFLD.

Fructose Increases Risk of NAFLD

Fructose is a natural sugar that can be found in fruit, fruit juices, honey and some vegetables. In these foods, fructose can be part of a healthy diet. But it is also a component of high-fructose corn syrup made from corn starch which is added to candy and sodas. The study found that fructose is metabolized in the liver which leads to fat production and raises the risk of a person developing the fatty-liver disease. Fructose also doesn’t stimulate the satiety-promoting substance leptin, which should tell your brain that you have enough fat stored. This causes some people to consume an excessive amount. A clinical study of teenage boys with NAFLD showed that a diet low in “free” sugars that are added to food and drink led to a significant improvement in NAFLD.

Early Intervention To Reduce NAFLD

NAFLD is the most common childhood liver disease and affects almost 10% of young people aged between 2 and 19. These studies are increasingly showing that if children with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease consumed a diet that was very low in sugar, fat and inflammation in the liver will significantly improve. Meanwhile, maintaining good oral hygiene is also crucial for liver health. If teeth and gums are in poor health, there is an increased risk of developing NAFLD alongside other diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers. Ensuring children have a good oral hygiene routine from a young age and regularly visits a dentist or orthodontist to intercept any potential problems, will help to ensure their risk of NAFLD is reduced.

The Link Between NAFLD And Periodontitis

Periodontal disease or gum disease is severe inflammation of the gum and bone support that surrounds teeth. Studies have linked periodontal infection with NAFLD. Periodontitis could advance the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma and affect liver transplants. A study in Japan found that male students with a high level of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), an enzyme principally found in the liver and kidney used to screen for liver disease, were more likely to have periodontitis. Although periodontitis is relatively common in most cases it can be prevented and even cured and as a result improve liver function. However, compared to many other serious diseases, particularly NAFLD, periodontitis often seems relatively harmless to people and it is common for people with severe liver conditions to neglect their oral hygiene.

While non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a serious condition affecting millions of people, studies are increasingly showing that the combination of a diet containing less sugar along with a good dental care routine can not only reduce the risk of developing NAFLD, but also lead to a significant improvement in the condition.