Study identifies infection-causing bacteria

25 November 2022

Swedish researchers have identified the bacteria most commonly found in severe oral infections.

Swedish researchers have identified the bacteria most commonly found in severe oral infections.

Studies have previously linked oral health to common diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. But few studies have identified which bacteria appear in infected oral- and maxillofacial regions.

Karolinska University Hospital researchers analysed samples collected between 2010 to 2020 from patients with severe oral infections. Their analysis allowed the team to create a list of the most common oral bacteria.

Professor Sällberg Chen of the Department of Dental Medicine at Karolinska Institutet said to EurekaAlert!, “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.”

The most common bacterial phyla were:

  • Firmicutes
  • Bacteroidetes
  • Proteobacteria
  • Actinobacteria

The most common genera were:

  • Streptococcus spp
  • Prevotella spp
  • Staphylococcus spp.

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

Volkan Özenci from the Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet said, “Our study was a single centre epidemiology study and to ensure the validity of the results, we need to make more and larger studies.

“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 diagnostics and therapeutic management of oral infections.”