Bacteraemia due to everyday oral activities

shutterstock_26227375 toothbrushes and toothpaste

The aim of this review was to investigate the robustness of the observations on the influence of oral hygiene, gingival and periodontal status on the development of bacteraemia from everyday oral activities (B-EOA), analysing its prevalence, duration, magnitude and bacterial diversity.

The authors searched MEDLINE-PubMed, the Cochrane Library and Embase for studies on B-EOA.

They found :-

  • 12 articles met the inclusion criteria (seven on toothbrushing, one on dental flossing and four on chewing).
  • Evaluating the influence of plaque and gingival indicies on prevalence of bacteraemia
    • for plaque index the pooled odds ratio was       2.61  (95% CI = 1.45–4.69)
    • for gingival indices the pooled odds ratio was  2.77 (95% CI = 1.50–5.11)
  • None of five studies on bacteraemia following dental flossing and chewing revealed a statistically significant association between oral hygiene, gingival or periodontal status and the development of bacteraemia.

The authors concluded:-

Meta-analysis showed that plaque accumulation and gingival inflammation scores significantly increased the prevalence of bacteraemia following toothbrushing. However, systematic review showed no relationship between oral hygiene, gingival and periodontal status and the development of B-chewing, and there is no evidence that gingival and periodontal health status affects B-flossing.

Toma´s I, Diz P, Tobı´as A, Scully C, Donos N. Periodontal health status and bacteraemia from daily oral activities: systematic review/meta-analysis. J Clin Peridontol 2011; doi: 10.1111/j.1600-051X.2011.01784.x.

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Derek Richards

Derek Richards is a specialist in dental public health, Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Dentistry and Specialist Advisor to the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) Development Team. A former editor of the Evidence-Based Dentistry Journal and chief blogger for the Dental Elf website until December 2023. Derek has been involved with a wide range of evidence-based initiatives both nationally and internationally since 1994. Derek retired from the NHS in 2019 remaining as a part-time senior lecturer at Dundee Dental School until the end of 2023.

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