A recent study shows that plaque-causing bacteria can cause endocarditis.

S. gordonii is a bacteria that lives in the mouths of humans and is one of the causes of plaque.  Recently, researchers have found that this bacteria, is able to mimic a part of the body necessary for clotting, fibrinogen.  If this bacteria is able to enter the blood stream, it is able to act like fibrinogen and create clots by attracting platelets.  These platelets then surround the bacteria, creating an impermeable clot.  This clot can then travel throughout the body and become stuck in a heart muscle valve, causing infective endocarditis.  About 30% of patients that come in with infective endocarditis will not live, and the other 70% will most likely need surgery to remove the blockage or replace the valve.  These statistics mean that is extremely important to brush and floss your teeth, as well as visit your dentist regularly to maintain your oral health.