Study sheds new light on the link between oral bacteria and diseases

oral bacteria and disease
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Researchers in Sweden have identified the bacteria most commonly found in severe oral infections. Few such studies have been done before, and the team now hopes that the study can provide deeper insight into the association between oral bacteria and other diseases. 

Previous studies have demonstrated clear links between oral health and common diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. However, there have been few longitudinal studies identifying which bacteria occur in infected oral and maxillofacial regions. 

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have now analysed samples collected between 2010 and 2020 at the Karolinska University Hospital from patients with severe oral infections and produced a list of the most common bacteria, publishing their findings in Microbiology Spectrum.

“We’re reporting here, for the first time, the microbial composition of bacterial infections from samples collected over a 10-year period in Stockholm County,” Professor Sällberg Chen said. 

“The results show that several bacterial infections with links to systemic diseases are constantly present and some have even increased over the past decade in Stockholm.”

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

“Our results provide new insight into the diversity and prevalence of harmful microbes in oral infections,” Professor Chen said. 

“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.”

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