The mouth as a mirror of health
The oral microbiome, i.e. the sum of all microorganisms in the mouth, is the central topic of a current study. Researchers examined the influence of flora in the mouth on our entire body. It turned out that the oral flora is linked to human health to a much greater extent than previously thought. The research also underlines the importance of oral hygiene, which also appears to help protect against inflammation and chronic diseases.
Colorado State University researchers provide new evidence that the mouth microbiome is linked to overall health and the development of chronic diseases. The team also showed that people who used dental floss had better health on average than those who didn't. A possible link between obesity and periodontitis was also uncovered. The research results were recently presented in the renowned scientific reports.
Oral flora as an indication of the overall state of health
For the study, the researchers took cheek swabs from the participants, who also answered questions about oral hygiene, demography and lifestyle. The smears were then analyzed in a laboratory. Overall, the analysis showed that oral care habits affect the communities of bacteria in the mouth - both positively and negatively.
Dental floss users have fewer bacteria in their mouths
The researchers grouped the people into two groups. One group reportedly used dental floss regularly, while the other group did not. It turned out that the participants in the dental floss group had less variety of bacteria in their mouths than the other group. According to the research team, this is most likely due to the physical removal of bacteria by dental floss.
The research team points out that certain bacteria in the mouth can cause increased inflammation in the body. Such inflammations can in turn favor chronic diseases.
Less periodontitis through regular visits to the dentist
It was also shown that adults who had seen a dentist within the past three months had less oral microbial diversity than those who had not seen the dentist for 12 months or more. Most of all, those who rarely go to the dentist had more Treponema bacteria in their mouths. Treponema is a germ with high pathogenic potency and a trigger for periodontitis and other inflammations.
Body weight affects the oral flora
The investigation also showed that the body weight of children is related to the diversity of bacteria in the mouth. Obese children, on average, had a higher concentration of Treponema bacteria in their mouth than normal-weight children. This shows a possible link between childhood obesity and periodontal disease.
Also read the article: Obesity and periodontosis are mutually beneficial.
People in one household had similar oral flora
In addition, the researchers found that people who live together in a household, especially families, have a similar microbiome in their mouth. The researchers attribute this to similar oral hygiene and similar nutrition in the people living together. The study emphasizes the need to consider oral health in relation to overall health, the researchers conclude. (vb)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek
- Zachary M. Burcham, Nicole L. Garneau, Sarah S. Comstock, et al .: Patterns of Oral Microbiota Diversity in Adults and Children: A Crowdsourced Population Study; in: Scientific Reports, 2020, nature.com
- Colorado State University: The microbes in your mouth, and a reminder to floss and go to the dentist (published: March 2nd, 2020), agsci.source.colostate.edu