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Scientists tie oral bacteria build up with malignant illness

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) –  When was your last trip to the dentist? If it’s been a while you might want to consider making an appointment. The sooner the better. 

Several studies link a build up of mouth bacteria with a high risk of at least four chronic diseases including cancer, diabetes, heart and Alzheimer’s disease. But there’s more.  

In a new study scientists set out to find why mouth bacteria is harmful to the rest of your body. They looked at 1,000 samples between 2010-2020. Using a special method called mass-spectrometry and found multiple types of fungi and microbes in them that cause lethal infections.

The problem, researchers say, is the malignant bacteria is difficult to spot when patients get their exam. The method is rarely used in dental practices.  

“Our results provide new insight into the diversity and prevalence of harmful microbes in oral infections,” study author, Dr. Margaret Chen, writes in a news release. “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.”

Chen goes on to say she hopes dentists will collaborate with microbiologists to better understand why the bacteria causes oral infections.