The human mouth is the largest portal through which infectious micro-organisms may enter the body. Almost all varieties of pathogenic bacteria have been found in the human mouth. The gastric juices afford little protection against them. Charles Mayo1 says:
Microscopic examination of gastric extracts made by Smithies from 2,406 different individuals with "stomach complaint" (dyspepsia, indigestion and the like) showed that irrespective of the degree of acidity of such gastric extracts, bacteria were present in 87 per cent. Morphologically cocci and diplococci were present in 83 per cent.; short and long rods (often of the colon group) in 58 per cent.; typical streptococci and staphylococci in 17 per cent., and Leptothrix buccalis in 24 per cent. In fifty-four cultural studies of saliva from "dyspeptic" patients, streptococci and staphylococci were demonstrated in over 80 per cent., bacilli in 66 per cent., and Leptothrix buccalis in more than 14 per cent.