Dental plaque, which occurs as a result of the activity of bacteria present in the oral cavity, destroys the enamel and dentin, causing what we know as caries, a condition very prevalent worldwide. But even if the World Health Organization considers caries an authentic 'health calamity', the consequences that the proliferation of bacteria in the mouth can have can be much worse. And is that if a bacterium involved in the formation of dental plaque, the Streptococcus gordonii, it manages to enter the bloodstream - when the gums bleed -, it can cause blood clots and, even, an endocarditis - an inflammation of the blood vessels that hinders the blood supply to the heart.
The bacterium S. gordonii has the ability to produce blood clots, which protect the bacteria against the immune system and nullify the action of antibiotics
A group of researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland and the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, have discovered that the S. gordonii has the ability to produce a molecule with which it mimics a blood clotting factor that acts by grouping the platelets inside the blood vessels, and thus causing clots, which protect the bacteria against the immune system and nullify the action of antibiotics which are used to eliminate the infection. This can lead to an endocarditis that could be fatal.
Infective endocarditis is caused by the entry into the blood of microorganisms (bacteria or fungi), especially bacteria of the streptococcus and staphylococcus genera, so one of the authors of the study that has revealed the role played by the S. gordonii In this disease, Dr. Helen Petersen, explained the importance of understanding the relationship between bacteria and platelet formation, to develop more effective treatments against this serious pathology. Meanwhile, the expert recommends extreme oral hygiene to avoid the presence of these harmful bacteria.