Researchers find Blood Clots can be caused by Dental Plaque Bacteria

open mouth - BSN

(Best Syndication News) - Previous research has shown an association with oral health and heart health. A recent study now suggests that oral bacteria could enter into the bloodstream posing a risk for blood clots that could lead to endocarditis and blood vessel blockage.

The research came from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) along with the University of Bristol. Dr. Helen Petersen will be presenting the findings at the Society for General Microbiology’s Spring Conference in Dublin this coming week.

The oral bacteria, Streptococcus gordonii, are normally found in the mouth. Bacteria in known to contribute to the buildup of plaque on the teeth. When bacteria enter into the bloodstream through bleeding gums, it can pretend to be a human protein called fibrinogen, which could cause platelets to clump together in blood vessels. The platelet clumping can cause growths to occur on the heart valves, such as with endocarditis. There is a potential for inflammation of the blood vessels that could further block the flow of blood that travels to the heart or the brain.

“About 30% of people with infective endocarditis die and most will require surgery for replacement of the infected heart valve with a metal or animal valve," explained Dr. Petersen.

Dr. Steve Kerrigan from RCSI said, "Our team has now identified the critical components of the S. gordonii molecule that mimics fibrinogen, so we are getting closer to being able to design new compounds to inhibit it. This would prevent the stimulation of unwanted blood clots.”

The researchers are looking at more oral bacteria to see if they act similarly for causing the blood to clot.

Dr. Petersen said that their research demonstrates how important it is to keep the mouth healthy by brushing and flossing regularly.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

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