Navigation Links
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease

Researchers study interaction of mouth bacteria and blood cells

THURSDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Irish researchers are trying to develop a new way of attacking heart disease -- through the mouth.

"We are trying to understand the mechanisms by which oral bacteria colonies can lead to cardiovascular disease," said Steve Kerrigan of the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, and the principal investigator in a group that will report on the effort Thursday at the Society for General Microbiology meeting in Dublin.

People with poor dental hygiene, especially those with bleeding gums, are prey to more than 700 different types of oral bacteria, Kerrigan noted. "When those bacteria get into the bloodstream, they interact with platelets, the blood cells that can clump. The bacteria can cause them to clump together to form clots that can partially block blood vessels," he said.

Kerrigan and his colleagues, including Dr. Howard F. Jenkinson of the University of Bristol, have been investigating the cell surface proteins that allow bacteria to interact with cell platelets.

"We are trying to find new drugs that prevent this interaction," Kerrigan said. "The treatment now for this condition is aggressive antibiotic treatment. With all the controversy about antibiotic-resistant bacteria that is emerging, it would be best not to use antibiotics. If we find the ways the bacteria are causing the platelets to clump, it would be a new treatment target."

Analysis of the genes of streptococci often found in the mouth has identified a number of proteins responsible for the adherence of bacteria to platelets, Kerrigan said. "We have a few targets that we are researching just now," he said. "We have some good leads at the moment, and are trying to refine what we have found."

While "there is no definitive study that shows a cause-and-effect relationship between periodontal disease and heart disease," said Sally Cram, a Washington, D.C. periodontist who is a consumer adviser to the American Dental Association, "we have a number of studies coming out that indicate a strong relationship between infection in the mouth and gums and other things in your health, such as diabetes and heart disease."

Even although the case may not be completely proven, she added, "I tell my patients that, given that periodontal disease is preventable by doing certain things that take five minutes a day, it is worth doing those things."

Cram's recommendations are standard: brush twice a day, floss once a day, see a dentist regularly or when signs of trouble appear.

"Especially if there is a family history of heart disease or diabetes, it makes common sense to help prevent gum disease," she said.

Good oral hygiene is a necessity because bacteria easily get into the bloodstream from the mouth, from routine activities such as chewing and from tooth brushing, said Peter Lockhart, chairman of the department of oral medicine at the Carolinas Medical Center, in Charlotte, N.C.

Earlier this year, Lockhart published a study of 290 dental patients showing that bacteria could be detected in 23 percent of them after tooth brushing, compared to 30 percent when a tooth was pulled after the patient took an antibiotic and 60 percent when no antibiotic was taken.

So oral hygiene is "a much more appropriate focus for prevention of endocarditis," infection of the lining of the heart or a heart valve, Lockhart said.

More information

Learn about periodontal disease and its prevention from the American Dental Association.

SOURCES: Steve Kerrigan, Ph.D., principal investigator, Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin; Sally Cram, D.D.S., periodontist, Washington D.C.; Peter Lockhart, chairman, oral medicine, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, N.C; Sept. 10, 2008, presentation, Society for General Microbiology, Dublin, Ireland

Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. A potential approach to treatment of hepatitis B virus infection
2. New approach, old drug show promise against hepatitis C, Stanford research shows
3. Ingenious Med Continues Record Customer Growth and Approaches Key Milestones
4. New approach to cancer: Find most tightly controlled genes
5. New approach sheds light on ways Circadian disruption affects human health
6. Kognitio CEO Offers Outsourced, Service-Based Data Warehousing as a New Approach to Large Scale Analytics
7. First steps towards a new approach to epilepsy treatment
8. Non-Surgical Approach Can Treat Lung Cancers
9. Weizmann Institute scientists develop a new approach to treating autoimmune disease
10. New vaccine approach prevents/reverses diabetes in lab study at Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh
11. NIAID to advance B-cell approach to HIV vaccines
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease 
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... October 12, 2015 , ... The Horizon Foundation for ... focused on improving public health and enhancing the quality of life in the Garden ... 11 New Jersey non-profit organizations. , The charitable arm of Horizon Blue Cross ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... October 12, 2015 , ... ... present the latest version of Companion Mics, the CM•4 Multi-Talker Noise Reduction System, ... Union of Hearing Aid Acousticians’ (EUHA) 60th Annual Congress in Nuremberg, Germany. ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... Town, Maine (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2015 , ... ... Lake Itasca, MN. Their mission: To paddle the entire 2,320-miles of river to the ... are now halfway done with the monumental journey, with two months remaining for a ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2015 , ... ... to be a part of a contact channel benchmarking study. Be ... comparisons of key operational strategies for improving customer experience, customer journey, contact channel ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... Colorado Springs, CO (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2015 , ... NFL football fans who ... to consider donating to a great cause. CLICK HERE to donate to Smile ... and receive an opportunity to win an all-inclusive trip to the 2016 NFL Super Bowl! ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... , October 12, 2015 ... research report "Spirometer Market by Product (Hand-held, Table-top, Desktop), Technology ... Homecare), Application, & Geography - Global Forecast to 2020", published ... 858.6 Million by 2020, at a CAGR of 9.8% from ... and 128 F igures spread th rough 187 ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... PUNE, India , October 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... The Plague - Pipeline Review, H2 2015 ... helps strengthen plague R&D pipelines by identifying new ... products. . --> ... report on Plague pipeline spread across 62 pages, ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... 2015 Device usage in healthcare continues to ... these devices into existing clinical workflow. In response, Ergotron, ... mobility solutions, has launched the SV10 series of its ... wide array of laptops and tablets. In addition, one ... for Microsoft Surface and is compatible with all Surface ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: