Scientists have recently been focused on the possible role of oral bacteria as a potential contributor to obesity.
To investigate this possibility, the study's researchers J.M. Goodson, D. Groppo, S. Halem and E. Carpino measured salivary bacterial populations of overweight women. Saliva was collected from 313 women with a body mass index between 27 and 32, and bacterial populations were measured by DNA probe analysis. Levels in this group were compared with data from a population of 232 healthy individuals from periodontal disease studies. The median difference of seven of the 40 bacterial species measured was greater than 2 percent in the saliva of overweight women.
Classification tree analysis of salivary microbiological composition revealed that 98.4 percent of the overweight women could be identified by the presence of a single bacterial species (Selenomonas noxia) at levels greater than 1.05 percent of the total salivary bacteria. Analysis of this data suggests that the composition of salivary bacteria changes in overweight women.
It seems likely that these bacterial species could serve as biological indicators of a developing overweight condition. Of even greater interest, and the subject of future research, is the possibility that oral bacteria may participate in the pathology that leads to obesity.