Eastman Dental Institute


Unravelling the mouth-gut axis and its association with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

7 October 2020

Professor Andrew Smith, UCL Eastman Dental Institute, has received a new BRC grant to investigate the link between oral inflammatory disease and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). 

The digestive system

Professor Andrew Smith and colleagues have been awarded a major new grant to investigate the relationship between oral inflammatory disease and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). 

Previous studies have found that patients with IBD are 4-6 times more likely to also suffer from periodontitis (gum disease) than the general population.   

But there is very little information on the potential mechanistic link between these two chronic conditions.  

Professor Smith said: “It has been demonstrated that in an animal model, bacteria from the mouth, can translocate to and colonize the lower digestive tract resulting in gut inflammation. 

“However it is not known whether the same thing happens in humans and how this may influence oral and gut inflammatory disease.” 

“This study will look at whether microbes within the mouth have a role to play in intestinal inflammation and if there are biomarkers which could be used to identify individuals at risk of developing these diseases.” 

Together with colleagues from UCLH, researchers will collect samples from the gut and mouth of patients who suffer from one or both conditions.  

The bacterial communities will then be characterised using 16S rRNA sequencing in order to identify species that are associated with disease activity. 

The18-month study is funded by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centr