Rats with periodontitis and catheter-induced aortic valve vegetations underwent dental extractions. Cultures of blood obtained 1 min later showed polymicrobial bacteremia in 19 of 19 rats, mostly due to viridans streptococci (18 of 19), Morganella (15 of 19), group G streptococci (13 of 19), and Staphylococcus aureus (10 of 19). Viridans streptococci circulated in higher numbers than did group G streptococci and S. aureus (P less than .01). Three days after dental extractions, 18 of 20 rats had endocarditis. Fifteen (83%) of 18 infections were due to group G streptococci, 9 (50%) of 18 were due to S. aureus, and 2 (11%) of 18 were due to viridans streptococci (P less than .05). In vitro, adherence to platelet-fibrin matrices of endocarditis strain 8 of group G streptococcus was two times greater than that of endocarditis strain S. aureus 23 and three to four times greater than that of Streptococcus sanguis 44 and Morganella morganii 93 (P less than 10(-5)). The inoculum size that produced endocarditis in 90% of rats after iv challenge was 10(5) cfu for group G streptococcus strain 8 and 10(7) for S. sanguis 44.