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Bacteria & Blood Clots

By Jill Hamilton on May 8, 2012 in Healthy Living


These days, there are so many different research and development projects receiving money for performing experiments intended to extend our understanding of the world around us. While there are definitely wasted dollars (shrimp on a treadmill, anyone?), there is plenty of research being done on how to improve the human life.

In honor of Stroke Awareness Month, we felt we should share a possible association between tooth decay bacteria and blood clots. This research is still in its infancy.

New research has emerged from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland suggesting that oral bacteria could contribute to blood clots. Yikes! Do your gums bleed when you brush them? If they do, make sure to take extra care when brushing. Scientists believe this is how plaque bacteria can enter into your bloodstream!

The research describes the process as follows: once in your blood stream, the bacteria attract blood platelets that encase it, like a cocoon. The encasement hinders antibiotics or other infection fighters from helping the immune system combat the problem. The blood clots have the chance of causing an inflammation in a part of the heart which of course can lead to more serious problems. The clots can also cause inflammation in blood vessels which can slow down blood delivery to the heart and brain.

“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,” stressed researcher Dr.  Helen Petersen, M.D.

Who would have thought that such little things could have such a great impact? We are only scratching the surface of the problems that could arise from poor oral hygiene. The result of this research is a sobering reminder that if we put our oral health at risk, we put our overall health at risk.

Now… Go protect your heart and brush your teeth!

  1. “Don’t Let Stress or Fatigue Compromise Your Health and Happiness.” Heart Disease and Oral Health: Role of Oral Bacteria in Heart Plaque. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/heart-disease-oral-health.