There can be 700 different types of bacteria in our mouths, which are part of a healthy mouth, but when bacteria spreads to other tissues through the blood stream, the results can be life threatening.
Infective endocarditis is a heart disease where bacteria cause blood clots on the heart valves. This can cause a fatal condition in at least 30% of case, even with treatment. There are 2 000 cases of infective endocarditis in the UK each year, with the number of cases rising.
Dentists will ask patients about their medical history and check for certain heart issues. Some times we will ask patients at risk to take some antibiotics before some procedures, such as removing teeth, and professional cleaning of the teeth, in an effort to stop bacteria from our mouths, travelling through our blood stream to the heart, where they can lodge on scarred areas and cause disease.
Researchers (from Bristol University and University of Louisville, USA) have used a giant x-ray microscope to find that a protein was allowing a type of bacteria to stick to the surface of human cells, which was the first step in causing progression of disease.
The wonderful researchers are now hoping to find and develop agents that will prevents the binding of disease causing bacteria, and the series of catastrophic events that can follow.
- Catherine R. Back, Maryta N. Sztukowska, Marisa Till, Richard J. Lamont, Howard F. Jenkinson, Angela H. Nobbs, Paul R. Race. TheStreptococcus gordoniiAdhesin CshA Protein Binds Host Fibronectin via a Catch-Clamp Mechanism. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2017; 292 (5): 1538 DOI: