Objective: To determine the colonization of Helicobacter pylori in dental plaque and saliva of individuals with H. pylori-associated gastritis.
Patients and methods: One hundred and twenty adult dyspeptic patients attending for outpatient endoscopy were randomly selected. Saliva, dental plaques and antral biopsies were collected and cultured in Dent's medium. Antral biopsies were also taken for histological confirmation of colonization.
Results: Eleven patients were withdrawn owing to poor tolerance of endoscopy. Fifty-two patients (47%) were found to be H. pylori positive on culture from antral biopsies and on antral histology. H. pylori was not isolated from saliva and dental plaques in any of the patients irrespective of their infective status. The H. pylori seropositivity rate was higher in the Japanese (72%) than in the Dutch (33%).
Conclusion: We failed to isolate H. pylori from saliva and dental plaque in a group of dyspeptic patients with H. pylori-associated gastritis. We believe that our finding strongly suggests that oral to oral route is not an important mode of transmission in the adult population.