Helicobacter pylori in the oral cavity and its implications for gastric infection, periodontal health, immunology and dyspepsia

J Physiol Pharmacol. 2005 Dec:56 Suppl 6:77-89.


Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is an important gastrointestinal pathogen associated with gastritis as well as gastric or duodenal ulcers and gastric cancer. The oral cavity has been considered as a potential reservoir for the gastric infection and reinfection. The objective of our studies was to evaluate the influence of oral H. pylori for the stomach infection and the release of gut hormones affecting food intake such as ghrelin and gastric secretion such as gastrin. Additionally, the contribution of H. pylori in the periodontal disease has been examined. H. pylori infection in stomach was assessed by (13)C- Urease Breath Test and presence of the bacteria in oral cavity by culture. The periodontal status was measured by pockets depth with the periodontal probe. We estimated the serum level of IgG anti-H. pylori, anti-VacA, anti-CagA, ghrelin, gastrin, TNF-alpha and IL-8 in blood and the level of IgA anti-H. pylori in saliva. The presence of H. pylori in oral cavity was detected in 54.1% of examined individuals, whereas the H. pylori gastric infection in tested group was found in 51% cases. However, the correlation analysis between those two groups of patients involving together about 100 subjects showed that within the group of patients with positive gastric H. pylori infection only 45.1% did not show the presence of H. pylori in saliva and 43.1% showed no H. pylori in supragingival plaque. In line of these findings patients who did not have gastric H. pylori infection, 53.2% showed presence of H. pylori in saliva and 42.9% in supragingival plaques. Serum level of ghrelin and gastrin in subjects with oral H. pylori inoculation but without gastric H. pylori infection were not significantly different from those without the presence of this germ in oral cavity. In contrast, gastric H. pylori infection resulted in significant reduction in serum ghrelin levels and significant elevation of gastrin as compared to those who were gastric H. pylori negative. We concluded that oral H. pylori alone does not seem to serve as bacterium sanctuary for gastric H. pylori infection and, unlike gastric infection, it fails to affect serum levels of hormones stimulating appetitive behaviour such as ghrelin and gastric acid secretion such as gastrin.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Breath Tests
  • Dental Plaque / microbiology
  • Disease Reservoirs*
  • Dyspepsia / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Gastrins / blood
  • Gastrins / metabolism
  • Ghrelin / blood
  • Ghrelin / metabolism
  • Helicobacter Infections / epidemiology
  • Helicobacter Infections / immunology
  • Helicobacter Infections / physiopathology*
  • Helicobacter pylori / immunology
  • Helicobacter pylori / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth / microbiology*
  • Periodontal Diseases / microbiology
  • Prevalence
  • Saliva / microbiology
  • Stomach Diseases / microbiology*


  • Gastrins
  • Ghrelin