A woman in Wisconsin got a nasty bacterial infection in her knee, but the infection’s source was an unexpected culprit: her vigorous tooth-flossing regimen.
She arrived at the emergency room with pain and swelling around her five year old knee replacement; she also had chills and was in pain, doctors decided to take a fluid sample from around the prosthetic. It turned out that her knee was infected with Streptococcus gordonii bacteria.
This was perplexing since this bacterium is usually found in the mouth. How could this species suddenly wind up around the woman’s prosthetic knee after five years with no problems?
The results made little sense to the woman’s doctors, until she mentioned she “had voluntarily started a vigorous dental flossing regimen, with bleeding from her gums as a result,” the doctors who treated the woman wrote in their report of her case.
It turns out that the answer was a sudden change in the woman’s dental hygiene routine. She had started a vigorous dental flossing regimen that had caused her gums to bleed.
Her doctors said in their report that it is likely that her vigorous flossing introduced the bacteria into her bloodstream through tiny cuts in the gums. The bacteria then made their way through the bloodstream and settled onto her knee replacement. You can see their report in the BMJ Case Reports. If you or someone you love has any kind of joint replacement or artificial implants, please share this article.
IFL Science: How Flossing Gave This Woman A Knee Infection
Live Science: Vigorous Flossing Caused Knee Infection In Strange Case
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