Throat and Mouth Bacteria Linked to Schizophrenia

People with schizophrenia have different collections of oral bacteria than those without the mental illness, according to two new studies.

The findings suggest that changes in mouth and throat germs might be associated with the illness and could offer a new tool for diagnosis.

The first study, published in August in the journal PeerJ, found that lactic acid bacteria was at least 400 times more abundant in schizophrenic patients than control subjects.

The authors, who come from a number of institutes and universities across the world, said they wanted to see whether the microbiome – the totality of microbes in the human body – was substantially different in people with schizophrenia than controls. There have been earlier studies that suggest that the microbiome might play a role in other similar conditions such as depression and anxiety.

The first study also revealed that a lactate-utilizing bacterium present in feces and an opportunistic fungus were also present at higher levels in the schizophrenic group.

The second study was published in the Schizophrenia Bulletin in early September and conducted at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center by scientists at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Stanley Research Program at Sheppard Pratt Health System in Maryland.

The scientists in the second study found that the level of Lactobactillus phage phiadh – a probiotic – was significantly different in individuals with schizophrenia versus control patients. The high level of the probiotic has been shown in animal models to alter the microbiome.

The authors of the second study concluded the study by saying that “the biological consequences of this difference” are “worthy of further investigations.”

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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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As we get older, dental care for adults is crucial. Here are a few of the conditions to be aware of:

Gum disease – if your home care routine of brushing and flossing has slipped and you have skipped your regular dental cleanings, bacterial plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth. The plaque and tartar, if left untreated, may eventually cause irreparable damage to your jawbone and support structures, and could lead to tooth loss.

Oral cancer – according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, men over the age of 40 have the greatest risk for oral cancer. About approximately 43,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, tongue or throat area, and the ACS estimates that about 7,000 people will die from these cancers. The use of tobacco products and alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer. Most oral cancers are first diagnosed by the dentist during a routine checkup.

Dental fillings break down – fillings have a life expectancy of eight to 10 years. However, they can last 20 years or longer. When the fillings in your mouth start to break down, food and bacteria can get underneath them and can cause decay deep in the tooth.

Keep your teeth clean with an oral health routine.

Establishing an oral health routine is important for a healthy mouth. Try one of our oral health products to help you establish a schedule.