Oral bacteria spreading through the body have been associated with a number of systemic diseases. The gut is no exception. Studies in animals and man have indicated that oral bacteria can translocate to the gut and change its microbiota and possibly immune defense. The ectopic displacement of oral bacteria particularly occurs in severe systemic diseases, but also in patients with “chronic” periodontitis. Thus, Porphyromonas gingivalis, which creates dysbiosis in the subgingival microbiota and immune defense, may also cause dysregulation in the gut. A dysbiotic gut microbiota may cause diseases elsewhere in the body. The fact that “chronic” periodontitis may affect the gut microbiota could imply that consideration might in the future be given to a coordinated approach to the treatment of periodontitis and gastrointestinal disease. This area of investigation, which is in its infancy, may represent another pathway for oral bacteria to cause systemic diseases and deserves more research.
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