Bacteria in mouth linked to chronic diseases

Credit: Engin Akyurt / Unsplash

A recent study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden found the bacteria most commonly found in severe oral infections.

The team hopes the study can provide deeper insight into the association between oral bacteria and other diseases.

Previous studies have shown clear links between oral health and common diseases, such as cancer, heart disease diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

However, there have been few long-term studies identifying which bacteria occur in infected oral- and maxillofacial regions.

In the study, the researchers analyzed samples collected between 2010 and 2020 at the Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden from patients with severe oral infections and produced a list of the most common bacteria.

They found that several bacterial infections with link to systemic diseases are constantly present and some have even increased over the past decade in Stockholm.

The study showed that the most common bacterial phyla amongst the samples were Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria, while the most common genera were Streptococcus spp, Prevotella spp, and Staphylococcus spp.

The results provide new insight into the diversity and prevalence of harmful microbes in oral infections.

The team says the finding isn’t only of importance to dental medicine, it also helps understand the role of dental infection in patients with underlying diseases.

If a certain bacterium infects and causes damage in the mouth, it’s very likely that it can be harmful to tissues elsewhere in the body as the infection spreads.

The research group has previously shown that the occurrence of oral bacteria in the pancreas reflects the severity of pancreatic tumors.

The researchers now hope that dentists will collaborate with clinical microbiology laboratories more to gain a better understanding of the bacteria that cause dental infections, to improve diagnostics and therapeutic management of oral infections.

The study was conducted by Professor Sällberg Chen et al and published in Microbiology Spectrum.

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