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Risk of Blood Clots with Dental Plaque

Risk of Blood Clots with Dental PlaqueYour dental health and your heart health may not seem to have much in common. After all, the sticky plaque that forms on your teeth and the plaque that clogs your arteries are two entirely different substances. However, a new study reveals that they may still be quite closely linked.

The study, which was presented at the Society for General Microbiology’s Spring Conference in Dublin, revealed that the oral bacteria Streptococcus gordonii can contribute to blood clot formation when it accesses the blood stream through irritated gums. S. gordonii mimics human proteins, which activate blood platelets. This can trigger a cascade of events as blood begins to clot and protect the bacteria from the body’s own immune system and even antibiotics. The resulting platelet clots can trigger endocarditis or life-threatening blood vessel inflammation and can even block the heart or brain’s blood flow.

Researchers are currently using the information gleaned from this study to develop new drugs that can help reduce the risk of endocarditis and blood clots. However, patients can also benefit by learning how to improve dental hygiene. Brushing twice daily for at least two minutes at a time can reduce the amount of plaque on the surfaces of your teeth. Flossing eliminates plaque located between your teeth. Professional cleanings can remove plaque and tartar in harder-to-reach areas that you may miss in your daily cleaning, and a comprehensive exam can identify signs of gum disease so that it can be treated earlier.

Contact our dental office today to schedule your next cleaning appointment and dental checkup with our dentist in West Hollywood.

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