How Mouth Bacteria End Up in the Heart

Published:December 24th, 2011

image from

No matter how much we clean and sterilize cooking utensils, no matter how much thoroughly we wash our fruits, and no matter how much we brush our teeth, bacteria build up in our mouth. New research shows that these bacteria pose other dangers to the human body. According to the study featured in the “Infection and Immunity” journal, cavity causing bacteria, if allowed access into the blood stream can eventually invade the inner lining of the heart and may prove fatal to a victim. This condition is called ineffective endocarditis and is a concern among dentists.

The main avenue, through which these bacteria have access to the body’s blood stream, is during a surgical dental work. This led researchers to determine the process by which this bacterium invades the body and the possible solutions to counteract the problem. Research done at the University of Rochester discovered some clues on how these bacteria are able to survive in their journey through the bloodstream all the way to the heart. Their findings were able to determine the expression of one protein, which was attributed to the effectiveness of the bacteria (Streptococcus mutans) in overcoming the immune system.

Among the four known groups of Streptococcus mutans bacteria strains, researchers found three more strains that are capable of invading the human body effectively. Their effectiveness at combating the onslaught brought forth by the immune system was attributed to a unique protein dubbed CNM. The researchers found that when they disabled the CNM producing gene in the strains, the S.mutans were unable to sustain colonies in the heart. This research was also able to determine that people with preexisting heart conditions and artificial valves were more predisposed to the susceptibility of these strains of bacteria. For the average person, with an effective immune system, the S.mutans bacteria show now potency in invading the heart.

Write a Comment of How Mouth Bacteria End Up in the Heart

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape