Scientists Link Oral Infections to Underlying Conditions

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Oral Infections
Oral Infection – Photo credit: MedicineNet

Researchers at Karolinska Institute in Sweden have established a link between oral infections and other diseases, as they identified the bacteria most commonly found in severe oral infections in connection with underlying conditions .

In a study published in Microbiology Spectrum, the scientists analysed 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.

This was a collaborative study that was performed by Professor Margaret Sällberg Chen and adjunct Professor Volkan Özenci’s research groups.

Previous studies have shown direct connections between dental health and a host of diseases including diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Few longitudinal investigations have, however, been conducted to determine the specific bacteria present in infected oral- and maxillofacial areas.

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“We’re reporting here, for the first time, the microbial composition of bacterial infections from samples collected over a ten-year period in Stockholm County. The results show that several bacterial infections with link to systemic diseases are constantly present and some have even increased over the past decade in Stockholm,” says Professor Sällberg Chen of the Department of Dental Medicine at Karolinska Institute.

According to the study, Streptococcus spp., Prevotella spp., and Staphylococcus spp., were the most prevalent general bacteria, while Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria, and Actinobacteria, were the most prevalent bacterial phyla among the samples.

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

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“The finding isn’t only of importance to dental medicine; it also helps us 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,” says Chen.

The study employed a mass-spectrometric technology called MALDI-TOF, which quickly detects individual live bacteria in a sample but is rarely used in dental treatment, and 1,014 samples from as many patients, of whom 469 were women and 545 were males.

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