April 01, 1998
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts April 1998 Current Issue
April 1998
AppleShort Cuts:

A NEW REASON TO FLOSS. We always knew it was important, but can neglecting your teeth and gums kill you? It's possible. A recent study by the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis says bacteria in dental plaque near diseased gums may induce "clumping" of blood platelets, an early step in the formation of blood clots, which can trigger heart attacks.

Drs. Mark Herzberg and Maurice Meyer examined two types of bacteria found in diseased gums, both of which can easily enter the bloodstream. When the bacteria were infused directly into the bloodstreams of rabbits, one type, Streptococcus sanguis, caused platelet clotting, faster heart and breathing rates, and abnormal changes in electrocardiograms.

"Severe periodontitis is the equivalent of about nine square inches of chronic wound around the teeth," Herzberg notes in a statement issued by the university. "It offers considerable opportunity over time for these bacteria to enter the blood."

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