Dental plaque has been suggested as a reservoir for but the hypothesis that the oral microflora may be a permanent reservoir of is still controversial. The aims of this study were to determine the presence of DNA in the gastric antrum and dental plaque of a Venezuelan population by PCR and to investigate the relationship between this infection and the oral hygiene index. Thirty-two patients from the Hospital Universitario de Caracas, attending for routine gastroscopy, and 20 asymptomatic subjects (control group) were evaluated. The patients’ gingiva and plaque were assessed by the gingival and plaque indices of Sillness and Löe. Supragingival plaque was analysed by a PCR for a specific internal urease gene. Gastric antrum biopsies were taken for histological examination and PCR. was detected in antral samples from 24 (75%) of 32 patients, all of whom had chronic gastritis. was also detected in dental plaque samples of 12 (37.5%) of the 32 patients. In 7 (58%) of these 12 patients, was identified in the gastric biopsy. Seven patients with chronic gastritis carried in dental plaque and antral samples. Of these patients, four also had dysplasia and one had metaplasia. Three subjects in the control group were positive by PCR. In the present study there was no correlation between infection and dental hygiene, dental caries, periodontal disease or use of dentures. The oral cavity may be a reservoir for infection and oral secretions may be an important means of transmission of this micro-organism. in dental plaque may represent a risk factor for gastrointestinal re-infection and ulcer relapse after antibiotic therapy.


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