The oral microbiota as part of the human microbiota – links to general health
The human body is covered by billions of microorganisms including bacteria, virus, fungi, archaea and protozoa, which are collectively referred to as the human microbiome.
The composition of the resident microbiome is shaped through millions of years of co-evolution with the host, with substantial site-specific variations due to characteristic ecological properties at each body site.
During the latest decades the development of sophisticated molecular methods has provided deep insight into the composition of the human microbiome, and today more than 900 different bacterial species have been identified from the oral cavity.
Oral health is shaped by a symbiotic relationship between the resident oral microbiota and the host. However, local bacterial alterations as a consequence of ecological perturbations may result in dysbiosis, which is considered critical in the pathogenesis of the two major oral diseases, periodontitis and dental caries.
The composition of the oral microbiota has also been suggested to influence general health status, and dysbiosis of the oral microbiota has been linked with general medical diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer. Therefore, a symbiotic relationship between the oral microbiota and the host may potentially have positive effects reaching far beyond the borders of the oral cavity.
The purpose of the present review paper is to address latest findings linking the oral microbiota with general health status, and to discuss future perspectives of this area of research.
Oral sundhed bygger på et symbiotisk samspil mellem den orale mikrobiota og værtens immunforsvar, og forskydninger i denne symbiose kan lede til sygdom i mundhulen. Nyere studier viser imidlertid, at dysbiose mellem den orale mikrobiota og værten ligeledes kan være forbundet med risiko for udvikling eller forværring af systemiske sygdomme. På denne baggrund er det afgørende, at tandlægen er bekendt med, at denne via målrettet diagnostik og forebyggelse kan medvirke til at bevare oral symbiose, hvilket ultimativt kan gavne andet og mere end patientens orale sundhed.