Oral bacteria that escape into the bloodstream are able to cause blood clots and trigger a life-threatening inflammation of the heart valves, researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and the University of Bristol have discovered.

Streptococcus gordonii is a common inhabitant of the mouth and contributes to plaque that forms on the surface of teeth. These bacteria can enter into the bloodstream through bleeding gums and start to wreak havoc by masquerading as human proteins.

The researchers discovered that S. gordonii is able to produce a molecule on its surface which activates the platelets, causing them to clump inside blood vessels. Platelet clumping can lead to growths on the heart valves (endocarditis), or inflammation of blood vessels that can block the blood supply to the heart or brain.

You see, it is essential to remove plaque twice a day.

Source: Dental Tribune International