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Anaerobe. 2013 Dec;24:90-3. doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2013.09.010. Epub 2013 Oct 12.

Oral microbiota and systemic disease.

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Division of Periodontology, College of Dentistry, The Ohio State University, 4111 Postle Hall, 305 W. 12th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210, USA. Electronic address:


It is well known that bacteria are the primary cause of infectious diseases, however, evidence is emerging that these organisms are also indirectly responsible for several diseases including cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. The oral cavity is home to several million bacteria that can cause two major diseases-periodontitis and caries. The relationship between periodontopathic bacteria and systemic diseases has been explored for several years. The concept of the oral cavity as a source of distant infection has been debated for at least a century. This review will discuss the historic aspects of the development of the focal infection theory, the reasons for its demise, its re-emergence and current status.


Focal infection; Focal sepsis; Oral bacteria; Periodontal medicine; Systemic disease

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