Bacteria Causing Endocarditis Can Originate In the Mouth

Bacteria Causing Endocarditis Can Originate In the Mouth

157067927Endocarditis is a condition caused by the inflammation of the heart’s lining which covers the muscle and its valves. Although a rare occurrence, endocarditis can be life-threatening, causing difficulty in breathing or complete heart failure. The inflammation occurs when the heart lining is subjected to foreign bacteria that make their way to the heart via the circulatory system.
One of the most common ways that bacteria enters the bloodstream is through the mouth which is constantly exposed to foreign bacteria and provides a ripe environment for them to thrive. Poor oral health normally leads to plaque buildup which occurs when sticky bacteria adhere to each other as well as them retaining food particles. As bacteria multiply, they cause gingivitis which is the beginning stages of gum disease producing inflammation and bleeding of the gums. As gingivitis advances, it transforms into periodontitis which causes the gums to shrink and retract from the teeth allowing bacteria to enter further below the gum line to the underlying bone.
Both gingivitis and periodontitis can allow bacteria to enter the circulatory system through open wounds, cavities and bone deterioration. Once in the bloodstream, bacteria can approach the heart and attach to its lining where pockets of bacteria are created. Left untreated, these bacteria multiply and place an increasing burden on the heart and valves.
Antibiotics can be used before the performance of dental procedures to lessen the chances of bacteria reaching the heart and other areas of the body. However, there are a couple of problems with antibiotic use. First of all, some bacteria which enter the body through the blood are not easily detectable by the immune system and can avoid the affects of antibiotics. Secondly, the risks associated with using antibiotics during dental procedures oftentimes outweigh the benefits so they are not often used. Antibiotics during dental procedures are usually only applied if the patient is at a high risk of contracting serious complications associated with endocarditis.
It is a much better strategy to practice good oral hygiene in order to limit bacterial growth and the risks associated with bloodstream infiltration. Brushing and flossing daily as well as regular scheduled preventative visits to your dentist significantly reduce the risk of developing endocarditis and other health issues linked to poor oral health.
Want to see all the other health issues that can stem from not taking care of your teeth? Check out our interactive dental resource! It’ll change the way you think about oral health!

This article is part of our blog series, “The Deadly Consequences of Poor Dental Care

Poor Dental Care Consequences
Yuko Ohara-Nemoto, Kayo Kishi, Mamoru Satho, Shihoko Tajika, Minoru Sasaki, Akiko Namioka, Shigenobu Kimura. “Infective Endocarditis Caused by Granulicatella elegans Originating in the Oral Cavity.”J Clin Microbiol. 2005 March; 43(3): 1405–1407. doi: 10.1128/JCM.43.3.1405-1407.2005

Keeping Our Patients Safe and Healthy at John R. Carson D.D.S., P.C.

Dear Patients,

As all of you know, our vision here at John R. Carson D.D.S., P.C. is to partner with patients to achieve the best for their long-term oral and overall health. We are honored to serve you. In light of current coronavirus/COVID-19 concerns affecting the world and an order from the Arizona Governor we, like all dental offices in Arizona, are closed for anything other than dental emergencies until April 3rd.

If you have a dental emergency, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are committed now and always to your needs.

The offices of John R. Carson D.D.S., P.C. continues to employ the most up-to-date infection control procedures and our record proves that they work really well! Rest assured that the infection control and standard precautions that we always employed are excellent deterrents to COVID-19 and every other virus. In addition to the routine steps we take, we are being even more vigilant of all the areas in the office. Surfaces in the reception area, front desk area, consultation area and restroom, which would normally be cleaned and disinfected daily, are now being disinfected throughout the day. Hand sanitizer is readily available in all areas of the practice for your use.

During this confusing and stressful time, staying healthy helps you fight off any challenge! Know that we take our role as your healthcare partner very seriously and are here to help! For the latest information and guidance, please refer to the CDC’s COVID-19 situation webpage, the Department of Public Health website, or ADA.

Stay safe and healthy—we look forward to seeing you soon.