It is now widely understood that gum disease can contribute to a host of potentially life-threatening conditions including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Research also indicates that women with periodontal disease are 3-5 times more likely to have a baby born prematurely compared with women without gum disease. However, is it possible that periodontal disease itself is deadly? According to recent research, the answer is “yes.” It seems that scientists have isolated an oral bacterium (Streptococcus tigurinus) that could be deadly if it enters the bloodstream through bleeding gums. While researchers begin to assess how common this bacterium is in the mouth, everyone has one more reason to floss and schedule regular dental check-ups that help avert gum disease.
P.S. It has been estimated that 75% of Americans have some form of gum disease.