Researchers have determined that there is another reason for people to continue flossing and brushing their teeth. It turns out that the same bacteria of the gums that causes dental plaque may get in the bloodstream and cause clots that will increase risk of heart disease and heart attack.
This study was conducted by researchers for two different universities in Ireland and was presented at a meeting of the Society for General Microbiology at the University of Nottingham, UK.
The leading professor of the study presented the findings at the meeting. He also stated that poor dental hygiene can result in gums that bleed which provide bacteria a route in the bloodstream, where they cause blood clots that can lead to a heart attack.
He added that everyone needs to be aware that it’s not only blood pressure, cholesterol, exercise, and diet that people need to be aware of, but that poor dental hygiene will increase the risk of heart problems.
Disease of the gums and tooth plaque are the result when Streptococcus bacteria builds up in a person’s mouth of they don’t floss and brush regularly. Disease of the gums makes the gums bleed, which permits bacteria to go in the bloodstream.
The study found that after the Streptococcus bacteria got in the bloodstream, they use a protein that stays on the outer surface, hijacks the blood platelets and forces them to make blood clots.
The bacteria encase themselves completely in the platelets that are clumped together which enables them to hide from antibiotics. This helps the bacteria because this clumping of the platelets can result in the inflammation of the blood vessels which can cause blood clots that may block the blood supply to the brain and the heart, heart valve growths.
A study is now being conducted to determine how the protein causes the blood platelets to clump together to see if there is a way to block it. This work is being accomplished by the use of a new blood flow model that mimics the circulatory system in humans.