After cleaning your mouth, plaque begins forming before your brush even hits the cup.
A key to plaque formation, said Yiping W. Han, a professor of periodontics at Case Western Reserve University is one of the most abundant and persistent bacterium that inhabits the mouth, Fusobacterium nucleatum,
She's found that the bacterium not only helps contagions attacking your teeth and gums but enables disease and infection to spread throughout the body.
Han's research is in the upcoming book, Oral Microbial Communities: Genomic Inquiry and Interspecies Communication, edited by Paul E. Kolenbrander, which will be published later this year.
One of the most common oral diseases is gingivitis and one of the main causes of gingivitis is the formation of plaque, which is facilitated by F. nucleatum. The presence of F. nucleatum can increase infection rate of gingivitis by a factor of two or more.
Other diseases caused by or enabled by the bacteria, include periodontitis, peritonsillar, and orofacial abscesses.
But, the damage is not solely localized in the mouth. From the mouth F. nucleatum can travel through the bloodstream and invade other organs.
Through oral diseases, F. nucleatum can get into the bloodstream and cause pregnancy complications, including miscarriage, preterm birth, and stillbirth. The bacteria colonize in amniotic fluid, which stimulates an inflammatory response that harms the fetus.
This bacterium is also found in lung, liver, spleen, blood, abdominal, and obstetrical and gynecological abscesses and infections.
Han explains that "attachment is the very first step. and Fusobacterium adhesion A (FadA) was found to be involved in binding."
Binding is a crucial step for establishing an infection in the mouth and the body. Han found that a galactose-binding lectin is involved in the attachment process.
Invasion also requires the involvement of actins, micro
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Case Western Reserve University