Is Your Mouth Putting Your Body At Risk

March 3, 2023

The mouth is home to hundreds of different types of bacteria. Many of these bacteria help to maintain a healthy mouth, while others have been shown to be detrimental to not only your mouth but your whole body. If uncontrolled, bacteria in the mouth can multiply and enter the bloodstream, affecting other parts of the body. Periodontal disease (gum disease), and the bacteria associated with it, have been linked to over 57 other serious systemic diseases. 

Recent studies show that five specific high-risk oral pathogens are causative drivers of inflammation and disease. If present, every time you swallow, these bacteria are introduced to the rest of the body. If you have these “bad bacteria” in your mouth, you are exposing the rest of your body to inflammation and inflammation is a major risk factor in developing disease. 

This means there is one very important question that we should all be asking ourselves. Is our mouth putting our body at risk? How can you find out if you have any of these five high-risk oral pathogens? The answer is HR5 Salivary Testing. 

What is HR5 salivary testing? 

HR5 is a simple, affordable, and highly accurate saliva test that will tell you the exact levels of each of these 5 high-risk bacteria if found in your mouth. 

Why should I be worried about the specific types of bacteria in my mouth?

The “5” in HR5 refers to the 5 bacterial pathogens that are the most critical and high risk for infection, inflammation, oral cavity destruction, and systemic diseases. Discovering which bacteria are present in your mouth will help you determine whether or not your mouth is putting your body at risk. 

What are the 5 most high-risk oral pathogens and how could they be putting my body at risk? 

  1. Aa ( Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans ) – Primary cause of rapid alveolar bone loss in both children and adults, severe periodontitis and implant failure, increases the risk for Cardiovascular Disease, Ischemic Stroke, Brain Abscesses, & Heart Infections.
  2. Pg ( Porphyromonas gingivalis )- Primary cause of alveolar bone loss, periodontitis, and implant failure increases the risk for Heart Attack, Ischemic Stroke, Type Two Diabetes, Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, and other inflammatory diseases. 
  3. Td (Treponema denticola )– Primary cause of periodontitis and implant failure (peri-implantitis), associated with Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. 
  4. Tf ( Tannerella forythia )- Primary cause of periodontitis and implant failure. 
  5. Fn (Fusobacterium nucleatum)- Associated with periodontitis and implant failure, associated with preterm birth, low birth weight babies, and fetal death. This pathogen also tends to facilitate the movement of other oral pathogens into the circulatory system. 

How do you perform the test? What is the process? 

You simply spit 1 ml of saliva into the container provided. Your dental office will mail it out and your results will be back within a few days. 

What if the test reveals that I do have a high-risk or multiple high-risk bacterial pathogens in my mouth? 

If your test results come back and you do in fact have one or more of the high-risk bacteria present and at a certain threshold, you will be treated with antibiotics that target the specific bacteria that you exhibit. In combination with the antibiotic and the hygiene treatment that your dental hygienist recommends, along with diligent home care, you will ideally return to a healthy oral microbiome. 

If an antibiotic treats high-risk oral pathogens, can I just take an antibiotic and skip the dental cleaning that my hygienist recommended? 

While this question is a logical one, the answer is no. If the tartar or calculus buildup (which is also bacteria) is not removed from the mouth/root surfaces of the teeth, the bacteria will eat away at the underlying jawbone and destroy the ligaments connecting your teeth to the bone. This is how bone loss occurs. This buildup of bacteria also causes inflammation and drives infection and the movement of bacteria into your bloodstream. Removing this bacteria is imperative. 

The antibiotics that you are prescribed, if necessary, will attack the bacteria that are resistant to mechanical debridement. If these bacteria are not addressed, progression to periodontal disease, tooth loss, systemic health issues, etc., can take place even with the recommended cleanings and diligent home care. It is a two-fold process and a crucial one, in order to ensure that your oral health is not negatively affecting your overall health! 

Why now? My dentist has never mentioned this to me before. 

The answer is simple, science is learning more and more every day and so are we. A few years ago these bacteria were being discussed as a “ possible link “ to other systemic diseases. Now, studies have proven that they are in fact “causative.” And even crazier, high-risk oral bacteria can be present long before the visible signs of infection or disease! This means that the first step in prevention is screening. The first step is salivary testing! A healthier mouth means a healthier you. Ask your healthcare provider today for the HR5 saliva test, to see if you are at risk.