Your Dirty Mouth Could Give You Digestion Problems

A new discovery links mouth bacteria with digestive disorders. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

You may not think of your oral health when sitting on the toilet, but certain bacteria in the mouth could be to blame for your bowel problems.

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MedicalXpress reports that a team of researchers realized their patients with bowel disorders (either irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease) had a lot of oral bacteria in their poop.Thinking the stomach must also have more of the bacteria, they decided to test their theory in the lab.

First, the team manipulated mice so they didn't have any stomach bacteria, making a clean slate to test their hypothesis. Then, they injected saliva from patients with Crohn's disease into the animals' guts. They found that bacteria from the saliva actually triggered certain cells to create inflammation.

They repeated the test in mice that had normal guts, and found that they were not affected by the bacteria. However, a third test introduced the bacteria after the creatures were given an antibiotic. This did result in inflammation.

The team also tried out their theory with colitis. In mice bred to be susceptible to the condition, the oral bacteria triggered an inflammatory response, LiveScience reports.

According to the news site, study authors say that people who have bowel diseases suffer from intestinal inflammation that creates a good home for oral bacteria. And once they take hold, this only makes the inflammation and gut problems worse.

While the findings are preliminary, the team believes further studies on oral bacteria could help the medical community develop new medications, which will come as a huge relief to those who suffer from bowel disorders. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, they are a big strain for the health care industry and significantly dampen people's happiness. An estimated 10 to 15 percent of the population are affected.

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are the most prevalent in people suffering with a bowel disorder. The Centers for Disease Control writes that these two conditions, both without any cures in sight, tack on a lot of medical costs. In 2008, patients spent $6.8 billion for treatment. Other costs, like time missed from work, added on another $5.5 billion. In a weekly report from April 2017, the governmental agency notes that the number of hospital trips for Crohn's disease did increase from 2003 to 2013.

Finding a solution isn't simple as we still don't know what causes the disease, making new advancements such as this one even more vital.