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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 23, Issue 3, Pages 177-179
Original Article

Is the presence of Helicobacter pylori in the Dental Plaque of Patients with Chronic Periodontitis a Risk Factor for Gastric Infection?

Mohammed Al Asqah,1 Nawaf Al Hamoudi,1 Sukumaran Anil,1 Abdulrahman Al jebreen,2 and Waleed Khalid Al-hamoudi2

1College of Dentistry, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2Department of Gastroenterology, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Received 4 September 2008; Accepted 30 October 2008

Copyright © 2009 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: Helicobacter pylori is considered to be a pathogen responsible for gastritis and peptic ulcers, and a risk factor for gastric cancer. A periodontal pocket in the teeth of individuals with chronic periodontitis may function as a reservoir for H pylori.

OBJECTIVE: The present study was undertaken to evaluate whether the presence of H pylori in the dental plaque of patients with and without periodontitis correlates with gastric involvement.

METHODS: A total of 101 patients with dyspepsia were included in the present study. Subjects were divided into periodontitis and non-periodontitis groups. For the detection of H pylori in dental plaque, samples were collected from two teeth using a periodontal curette. Subgingival plaque was obtained by inserting two sterile paper points into periodontal pockets for 20 s. This was followed by an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and antral biopsies.

RESULTS: Sixty-five per cent of patients had dental plaque positive for H pylori and more than 50% harboured the bacteria in their stomach. Periodontitis patients had a significantly higher percentage of H pylori in their dental plaque (79% versus 43%; P<0.05) and the stomach (60% versus 33%; P<0.05) than patients with no periodontitis. Additionally, 78% of patients from the periodontitis group versus only 30% from the nonperiodontitis group had a positive test result for the coexistence of H pylori in both dental plaque and the stomach.

CONCLUSION: Patients with poor oral hygiene have a higher prevalence of H pylori in dental plaque and in the stomach. This finding suggests that the oral cavity may be a reservoir for H pylori, and potentially a source of transmission or reinfection.