Scientists at Bristol University and London’s Royal College of Surgeons found that poor oral hygiene can cause bacteria to flourish in the mouth and enter the bloodstream, potentially causing fatal heart disease.
“The mouth is probably the dirtiest place in the human body.” said Steve Kerrigan of the Royal College of Surgeons. If we dont brush our teeth regularly, our mouth can harbour upto 700 different types of bacteria. This results in increased risk of gum disease and gum bleeding. And when that occurs, the bacteria in the mouth can enter the circulation through the open blood vessels. Within the blood stream, some of these bacteria can cause clumping of platelets, the cells responsible for clotting of blood. The clumped platelets can block blood flow through the blood vessels and if that occurs in one of the blood vessels supplying the heart, it can result in a heart attack.
So why cant we just give some antibiotics to kill those bacteria? First of all, all of those bacteria in our mouth are not harmful. There are lots of bacteria in our body which are actually useful to us. For example, certain bacteria in our intestines produce vitamins which we use. Secondly, bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics and many of the antibiotics those were effective earlier are pretty much useless nowadays. Indiscriminate use of antibiotics can cause bacteria to develop resistance and can kill the useful bacteria in our body. Also, these bacteria use the clumped platelets as a shield protecting them from the action of antibiotics and even our immune system.
So, what can we do to prevent all this? It’s pretty much simple. Just brush your teeth in the morning and before going to sleep, and floss atleast once a day.