The eye-tooth connection

Patients with more dental work are also more likely to have glaucoma

18 Jan 2017 by Olivia Wannan

An unexpected relationship between developing glaucoma and the bacteria in a person’s mouth or the number of natural teeth they have has been found in a US study.

Researchers at the State University of New York looked at the dental history of 119 patients with primary open-angle glaucoma and 78 people with no history of the disease, in the early stage research.

The researchers used a specimen of mouthwash to analyse the bacteria in each person’s mouth. They also looked at the natural teeth they had and the participants’ reports of their oral health routines.

People who had undergone more dental work had a higher rate of glaucoma, even when factors such as diabetes, hypertension and gender were taken out of the equation.

The research also found that Streptococci bacteria was more commonly found in the mouths of glaucoma patients than people with healthy eyes.

In the Journal of Glaucoma-published paper, the authors wrote that: “Further investigation of the association between dental health and glaucoma is warranted.

Image credit: D Sharon Pruitt

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