A type of bacteria found in the mouth could cause blood clots and a life-threatening heart condition if it escapes into the blood stream, scientists say.
Streptococcus gordonii normally contributes to plaque forming on teeth but researchers say if the bacteria gets into the blood stream it could lead to endocarditis, a dangerous infection in the heart.
June Davison, The British Heart Foundation’s Senior Cardiac Nurse, said: “It’s already well established poor oral hygiene can increase the risk of endocarditis. The condition is very rare but it’s also very serious - the lining of the heart becomes infected which can damage your heart’s valves.
“Good oral hygiene can help to protect you against endocarditis so it’s really important to clean your teeth everyday and visit your dentist regularly.”
The research was presented at the Society for General Microbiology’s Spring Conference in Dublin.