Suffering from inflammatory bowel disease? According to a new study, the bacteria residing in your mouth may be responsible as it activates immune cells to fuel inflammation in the gut.
The findings showed that when the bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae colonises in an intestine out of microbial balance, immune cells called T helper 1 (TH1) become overactive in the gut, resulting in intestinal inflammation leading to the onset of inflammatory bowel disease.
On an average, humans ingest 1.5 litres of saliva containing bacteria every day, which could possibly have harmful effects on health.
“We noticed that oral microbes are relatively enriched in gut microbiomes of patients with several diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, HIV infection, and colon cancer compared with healthy individuals,” said Masahira Hattori, Professor at the Waseda University in Tokyo.
For the study, published in the journal Science, the team administered salivary samples of healthy and inflammatory bowel disease-afflicted individuals to germ-free mice.
After six to eight weeks, the microbial content of the mice’s faeces were analysed, which showed that approximately 20 kinds of oral bacteria were present in these mice.
Klebsiella pneumoniae is usually a normal resident in the mouth of healthy individuals.
However, the researchers advised against excessive and long-term use of antibiotics as Klebsiella pneumoniae could persist in the intestine.
Another study, led by researchers from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, suggested that treating gum disease may significantly lower blood pressure.
“The study demonstrates for the first time that intensive periodontal intervention alone can reduce blood pressure levels, inhibit inflammation and improve endothelial function,” said lead author Jun Tao, Chief of the department of Hypertension and Vascular Disease at the varsity.
The findings were presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017 in California.