How Bacteria In The Mouth Can Lead To Heart Attack —Report


A new report published by HealthDay News has shown that a type of bacteria from the mouth can cause blood clots and lead to serious heart problems if it enters the bloodstream.

According to the study, this bacteria is called Streptococcus gordonii and it contributes to plaque (a soft, sticky, whitish mat-like film attached to tooth surfaces, formed largely by the growth of bacteria that colonise the teeth) that forms on the surface of the teeth.

According to the study carried out by researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, Dr. Helen Petersen, if the bacteria enters the bloodstream through bleeding gums, it can cause problems by masquerading as human proteins responsible for blood-clotting.

To do this, it activates the platelets (cells that are found in blood and involved in blood clotting) and causes them to clump inside blood vessels.

This action then shields the bacteria and protect them from the immune system of the body and even from antibiotics used to treat infection.

The bacteria would then block major blood vessels in the body and lead to growths on the heart valves and block blood supply to the heart or brain.

This could lead to heart problems including heart attack.

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The findings, to be presented at a Society for General Microbiology meeting in Dublin this week, could help lead to new treatments for the such ailments, Dr. Petersen said.

According to her, “in the development of infective endocarditis, a crucial step is the bacteria sticking to the heart valve and then activating platelets to form a clot.

“We are now looking at the mechanism behind this sequence of events in the hope that we can develop new drugs which are needed to prevent blood clots and also infective endocarditis.”

The researchers stressed that it’s important to keep the gums healthy and get regular dental care.

“What our work clearly shows is how important it is to keep your mouth healthy through regular brushing and flossing, to keep these bacteria in check,” she added.

—Eromosele Ebhomele

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