If you are a patient with certain kinds of heart disease or a special heart condition, or you’ve had a joint replaced, taking good care of your teeth and gums is a must-not just for a healthy smile, but also for your overall health.
Medical research has uncovered a definitive link between heart disease and certain kinds of oral infections such as periodontal disease. Some have even suggested that gum disease may be as dangerous as or more dangerous than other factors such as tobacco use.
During dental treatment, bleeding sometimes occurs. As a result, bacteria from the mouth can possibly enter the bloodstream and work their way to the heart. This presents a risk for some persons with cardiac abnormalities because the bacteria may cause bacterial endocarditis, a serious inflammation of the heart valves or tissues. Antibiotics reduce this risk.
Certain heart conditions are more often associated with endocarditis than others. To determine if an existing heart condition poses a risk, your dentist needs complete health information on your medical history form. The form should also include the name and address of your family physician or cardiologist as well as the names and dosages of all medications that you take.
A condition called chronic periodontitis, or persistent gum disease, has been linked to cardiovascular problems by medical researchers.
In short, infections and harmful bacteria in your mouth can spread through the bloodstream to your liver, which produces harmful proteins that can lead to systemic cardiac problems. That’s why it’s critical to practice good oral hygiene to keep infections at bay-this includes a daily regimen of brushing, flossing and rinsing.