Health Tech

Verily, Colgate to study the link between dental and overall health 

The companies will launch a randomized, controlled trial to see how access to gum irrigation and a smart toothbrush changes their oral health, blood sugar and artery health. 

Colgate and Verily struck a partnership to launch a study that would evaluate if better oral health leads to other health improvements.

Alphabet’s life sciences spinoff, Verily, and Colgate-Palmolive are launching a study to investigate the link between oral health and cardiometabolic health. The companies plan to enroll 200 participants from Verily’s Baseline Health Study, an expansive study of collecting data from thousands of patient volunteers.

The participants will be evenly divided into a control group and intervention group. Both will receive an initial deep cleaning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry. Over an 18-month period, the patients in the intervention group will use dental irrigation and a smart toothbrush from Colgate, while the control group won’t receive any extra equipment during the study.

At the end, participants will be evaluated for changes in their oral health, blood sugar, and flow-mediated dilation, a measurement of how much an artery dilates when blood flow increases.

The goal is to see if, by improving people’s oral health, their overall health improves.

“We’ve known for some time that oral health, cardiovascular disease and diabetes were interrelated. The depth of biological measurement in the Baseline Health Study combined with the dental expertise of the UNC Adams School of Dentistry and Colgate will enable us to expand our knowledge base dramatically,” Dr. Rob Califf, head of clinical policy at Verily and Google Health, said in a news release.

The partnership is just one piece of Verily’s broader effort to build out its research platforms. The company recently hired Amy Abernethy, former acting CIO of the Food and Drug Administration, as president of its clinical research business.