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Connection Between Oral and Vulvovaginal Health

Microbiome composition varies at each body site, but the microbiome between two separate individuals is more dissimilar than the microbiome at two different sites in the same individual. The “downstream” microbiome of the gut, vagina, and rectum may be influenced by organisms that enter the oral cavity and traverse through the digestive system or are translocated from one site to another. Prevotella, which is often identified in patients with bacterial vaginosis (BV), is present in the oral cavity, gut, rectum, and vagina.

However, little is known about the relationship between a history of oral disease (e.g. periodontitis, caries) and subsequent vulvovaginal infection. The consequences of oral infection disproportionately affect minorities and are devastating; patients suffer from chronic pain, difficulty eating and speaking, tooth destruction, and anxiety and depression. Infant exposures to maternal vulvovaginal microbiota during delivery have been explored extensively, but only a few studies suggest a link between oral disease histories and BV or a relationship between sexual practices and the incidence of BV. Our understanding of the complex microbial relationships across various body sites is in its infancy. Yet, it is clear the microbiome influences health and disease, metabolism, development of certain cancers and immune responses.

Cartoon Illustrating Patient Records and Statistics

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