When you brush your teeth at bedtime, the last thing you may be thinking about is your heart. As it turns out, that toothbrush is a big help to your ticker when it comes to a condition known as endocarditis. Endocarditis occurs when bacteria, viruses or chemicals make their way through the bloodstream to the inner membrane between the heart's valves and chambers. Good oral hygiene helps keep those bacteria and chemicals from entering the bloodstream in the first place.
Endocarditis results in flulike symptoms, such as fevers, night sweats, fatigue and chills. It can be treated with antibiotics. People with congenital heart disease are at particular risk of developing this condition.