Published online May 21, 2014. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i19.5639
Revised: January 19, 2014
Accepted: March 6, 2014
Published online: May 21, 2014
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection is one of the most common bacterial infections in humans. Although H. pylori may be detected in the stomach of approximately half of the world’s population, the mechanisms of transmission of the microorganism from individual to individual are not yet clear. Transmission of H. pylori could occur through iatrogenic, fecal-oral, and oral-oral routes, and through food and water. The microorganism may be transmitted orally and has been detected in dental plaque and saliva. However, the role of the oral cavity in the transmission and recurrence of H. pylori infection has been the subject of debate. A large number of studies investigating the role of oral hygiene and periodontal disease in H. pylori infection have varied significantly in terms of their methodology and sample population, resulting in a wide variation in the reported results. Nevertheless, recent studies have not only shown that the microorganism can be detected fairly consistently from the oral cavity but also demonstrated that the chances of recurrence of H. pylori infection is more likely among patients who harbor the organism in the oral cavity. Furthermore, initial results from clinical trials have shown that H. pylori-positive dyspeptic patients may benefit from periodontal therapy. This paper attempts to review the current body of evidence regarding the role of dental plaque, saliva, and periodontal disease in H. pylori infection.
Core tip:Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection is one of the most common bacterial infections in humans. The mode of transmission of this bacterium has long puzzled researchers. Numerous studies have shown that this microorganism can be detected in dental plaque and saliva of human subjects, suggesting that the oral cavity may be an extra-gastric reservoir of H. pylori and play an important role in both transmission and recurrence. Recent data support this hypothesis and indicate that periodontal therapy may play a role in the management of H. pylori-associated gastric disease.