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J Dent Res. 2013 Jun;92(6):485-91. doi: 10.1177/0022034513487559. Epub 2013 Apr 26.

Mobile microbiome: oral bacteria in extra-oral infections and inflammation.

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Department of Periodontics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


The link between oral infections and adverse systemic conditions has attracted much attention in the research community. Several mechanisms have been proposed, including spread of the oral infection due to transient bacteremia resulting in bacterial colonization in extra-oral sites, systemic injury by free toxins of oral pathogens, and systemic inflammation caused by soluble antigens of oral pathogens. Mounting evidence supports a major role of the systemic spread of oral commensals and pathogens to distant body sites causing extra-oral infections and inflammation. We review here the most recent findings on systemic infections and inflammation complicated by oral bacteria, including cardiovascular disease, adverse pregnancy outcomes, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer, respiratory tract infections, and organ inflammations and abscesses. The recently identified virulence mechanisms of oral species Fusobacterium nucleatum, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Streptococcus mutans, and Campylobacter rectus are also reviewed. A pattern emerges indicating that only select subtype(s) of a given species, e.g., F. nucleatum subspecies animalis and polymorphum and S. mutans non-c serotypes, are prone to extra-oral translocation. These findings advocate the importance of identification and quantification of potential pathogens at the subtype levels for accurate prediction of disease potential.


Fusobacterium; Porphyromonas; bacteremia; pregnancy complications; systemic disease; virulence mechanism

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