Submitted by: Dr. Scott Reader, DMD, PA, Your Hometown Dentist, One Senior Place Resident Business

Oral bacteria that escape into the bloodstream are able to cause blood clots and trigger life-threatening endocarditis. Streptococcus gordonii is a normal inhabitant of the mouth and contributes to plaque that forms on the surface of teeth. If these bacteria enter into the bloodstream through bleeding gums they can start to wreak havoc by masquerading as human proteins.

Research has discovered that S. gordonii is able to produce a molecule on its surface that lets it mimic the human protein fibrinogen, which is a blood clotting factor. This activates the platelets, causing them to clump inside blood vessels. These unwanted blood clots encase the bacteria, protecting them from the immune system as well as antibiotics, which may be used to treat the infection. Platelet clumping can lead to growths on the heart valves, or inflammation of blood vessels, which can block the blood supply to the heart or brain.

Better understanding and of the relationship between bacteria and platelets are on the horizon, which in turn could be a crucial step in finding new treatments for infective endocarditis. New drugs are also being developed to prevent blood clots as well as infective endocarditis. This is presently treated with surgery or strong antibiotics, which in fact is becoming more difficult with growing antibiotic resistance. Other dental plaque is being studied that have similar effects to S. gordonii. It is clearly stated in recent research how important it is to keep a persons’ mouth healthy through regular brushing, flossing and visits to a dentist every six months.


Dr. Scott Reader is a family and cosmetic dentist, specializing in Lumineers and the revolutionary Snap-On Smile.  His office is located at 7185 Murrell Road in Viera.  All seniors may schedule for a complimentary consultation by calling the office at 321-253-9588 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Reader.

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