In a landmark case, researchers were contacted by a 35 year old woman who had recently delivered a still-born baby at 39 weeks and 5 days gestation: full term. Postmortem microbial studies found the presence of F. nucleatum in the lungs and stomach. The baby died from a septic infection and inflammation caused by bacteria.
Researchers used DNA-cloning technologies found a match between the oral bacteria of the mother and the bacteria in the baby's lungs. Bleeding associated with gingivitis allowed the bacteria to enter the bloodstream and work its way to the placenta. The mothers immune system usually takes care of this situation, but she also experienced a upper respiratory infection which may have weakened her immunity enough to allow the bacteria to colonize the uterus.
Source: Han Y et al, Term Stillbirth Caused by Oral Fusobacterium nucleatum, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Feb 2010, Vol 115, Issue 2, Part 2, pp 442-445.
Hans Skariah, B.Sc., DMD
Promenade Court Dental Health Group in Mississauga
2233 Hurontario St., Mississauga, ON, Canada
(1/2 km north of the QEW in the Dome Building)