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Dogs and humans can give each other gum disease5th of November 2012
Dog owners are in danger of exchanging harmful mouth bacteria with their pets, according to a new study.
And this could lead to gum disease and tooth decay - both for the dog and the owner.
Previous research has shown that people can transmit oral bacteria to their children via close daily contact. However, few studies have looked into the risks of bacteria exchange between people and their pets.
Researchers in Japan worked with 81 dog owners to assess the prevalence of 10 bacteria commonly associated with periodontitis in people. The study involved 66 dogs of various breeds and ages, and took into account the level of contact involved between the dog and the owner.
Analysis of dental plaque found that all 10 of the bacteria strains were to be found both in dogs and humans. The most common-Tannerella forsythia, Porphyromonas gulae, and Campylobacter rectus- were detected in significantly higher levels in dogs than owners.
As many as a quarter of the dogs and owners that had close contact with one another shared Eikenella corrodens bacteria. Periodontal bacteria were found to be more prevalent in high-contact relationships and in older dogs.
P. gulae, rarely detected in humans, was found in 13 owners and their dogs, including two with low-contact relationships. This finding suggests that bacteria can be transmitted from dogs to humans even with low contact, researchers said.