Monday, January 14, 2013

Oral Bacteria Can Increase Blood Clot Risk

And yet another reason to brush and floss regularly:  doctors now believe that oral bacteria that escapes into the bloodstream can cause blood clots and trigger dangerous growths on heart valves.

Streptococcus gordonii is a type of bacteria that lives in the mouth and contributes to the plaque that forms on the surface of teeth.  If these bacteria enter the bloodstream through bleeding gums (a symptom of poor oral health), they can wreak havoc by masquerading as human proteins.  

One such protein actually mimics the human protein fibrinogen, a blood-clotting factor.  This, then, activates the platelets, causing them to clump inside blood vessels, and that can lead to life-threatening blood clots and endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart.  The blood clots encase the bacteria, protecting them from the natural defenses of the immune system and from antibiotics that treat infection.

More than ever before, physicians are recognizing the critical role that good oral health plays in general health.

If you are looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, Wilmette Dental is accepting new patients.  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online.

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