VALHALLA, NY – A new NIH-funded study, conducted by New York Medical College (NYMC), found a link between obesity and periodontitis, a serious and common gum infection caused by poor oral hygiene. Working on mice, faculty from the Department of Pharmacology at NYMC infected the subjects with Porphyromonas gingivalis, bacteria that cause periodontal disease, and measured inflammation. The results showed the bacteria worsened the functionality of fat tissue, which has been shown to increase obesity. In this context, the study also evaluated the anti-inflammatory properties of Kavain, an extract found in the kava plant, discovering the compound could potentially counter chronic inflammation in obese patients. Findings were originally published in The Journal of Immunology.