Your teeth’s health is your heart’s biggest ally. If you are not careful to keep your mouth clean and healthy, your heart is at risk for inflammation.
When there is a lack of care in oral health, causing plaque to build up and attracting more bacteria, bacteria can then enter the bloodstream through bleeding gums caused by gum (periodontal) disease.
This type of bacteria is called Streptococcus gordonii, and once it ends up in the bloodstream it can evade the immune system by masquerading as a protein and binding with platelets.
A recent research study by Dr. Helen Peterson from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, proves that the bacteria Streptococcus gordonii can imitate the human protein fibrinogen.
This impersonation initiates platelets which are focused on clotting in the blood, causing them to clot the blood inside the blood vessels. The bacteria is then encased in the blood clot, invisible to the immune system and antibiotics.
These blood clots can form growths on the heart valve. Inflammation may increase throughout the body due to periodontal disease.
In addition, the bacteria that latched itself to platelets causing blood clots in the blood vessels and heart inflammation can block the blood supply from the heart to the brain. Inflammation of the heart caused by bacteria from gum disease and plaque buildup can raise the chance of heart disease.
In order to avoid complications with the heart due to a lack of care for one’s teeth, there are a couple things you should remember to do. It is an important routine to brush your teeth daily and floss once a day. Also, make sure you go to a dentist every three to six months for a checkup.
The way to a healthy heart is not just by eating right and exercising, but by also maintaining good dental hygiene.
Bacteria From Mouth Can Lead to Heart Inflammation: Study. U.S. News. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
Healthy Smile = Healthy Heart. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.