A new study sheds light on the link between oral bacteria and disease

gum mouth

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Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have identified the bacteria most commonly involved in severe oral infections. Few such studies had been done before, and the team now hopes that the study will provide deeper insight into the relationship between oral bacteria and other diseases. The study has been published in Spectrum Microbiology.

Previous studies have shown 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 bacteria that occur in affected oral and maxillofacial regions. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have now analyzed samples collected between 2010 and 2020 at Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden from patients with severe oral infections and have produced a list of the most common bacteria.

This was a collaborative study conducted by Professor Margarete Saalberg Chen and Professor Volkan Ozenci’s research groups.

“We report here, for the first time, the microbial composition of bacterial infections from samples collected over a ten-year period in Stockholm County,” says Professor Sahlberg Chen from the Department of Dentistry at Karolinska Institutet. “The results show that many bacterial infections associated with systemic disease are persistent and some have increased over the past decade in Stockholm.”

role in other diseases

The study showed that the most common types of bacteria among the samples were: Streptococcus spp, Prevotella spp, and Staphylococcus spp.

“Our findings provide new insight into the diversity and prevalence of harmful microbes in oral infections,” says Professor Sahlberg Chen. “The discovery is not only important for dentistry, it also helps us understand the role of dental infection in patients with underlying disease. If certain bacteria infect the mouth and cause damage, it is very likely that they can be harmful to tissues elsewhere in the body as the infection spreads.” “.

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

A useful way to take care of your teeth

The study was conducted using 1,014 samples from several patients, including 469 women and 545 men, and a mass spectrometry method called MALDI-TOF quickly identifies individual live bacteria in a sample, but it is rarely used in dental care.

“Our study was a single-center epidemiological study and to ensure the results are valid, we need to conduct more larger studies,” says Volkan Ozenci from the Department of Laboratory Medicine at Karolinska Institutet. “We 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 the diagnosis and therapeutic management of oral infections.”

The study is part of Khaled Al-Manea’s doctoral dissertation, and the next step is a similar epidemiological study of fungal infection in the mouth aimed at identifying new fungi and microbes and understanding their potentially malignant causes.

more information:
Volkan Ozenci et al., Clinical microbial identification of severe oral infection by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry in Stockholm County: 11 years (2010–2020) Epidemiological investigation, Available here. Spectrum Microbiology (2022). doi: 10.1128/spect.02487-22

Provided by Karolinska Institutet

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