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Tooth Bacteria Found in Blood-Vessel Plaque
July 16, 2014

By Nancy Volkers
InteliHealth News Service

INTELIHEALTH - A small study has found that the bacteria that cause tooth decay also live in artery-clogging plaques.

The study was done in Brazil. It included only 13 people. All had problems with clogged or narrowed blood vessels. Researchers took samples of bacteria from several places:

  • Saliva
  • Plaque in the mouth
  • Plaque in the blood vessels

Researchers tested each sample for bacteria that are known to cause tooth decay and gum disease. Streptococcus mutans is known to cause tooth decay. It was found in 100% of the samples from the mouths of people. It also was found in 100% of samples from their blood vessels.

Prevotella intermedia is known to cause gum disease. It was found in 92% of samples from mouths, and 7% of samples from blood vessels.

Other bacteria linked with gum disease were found in the mouth samples, but not in the blood vessels.

At least one other study has found S. mutans in samples of blood-vessel plaques. Other studies have linked gum disease and heart disease.

The authors suggest that S. mutans may play a role in the clogging or narrowing of arteries.

The study appears in the July issue of the International Journal of Cardiology.

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