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Dental Hygiene And Heart Problems

dental hygiene and heart problemsMost people have never heard of endocarditis, but this rare condition, which is an inflammation of the lining of the heart and the valves around it, can be life threatening. Endocarditis is most likely to occur after a medical or dental proce-dure, and it is characterised by symptoms such as night chills, fever, muscle or joint pain and lethargy.

Who Is At Risk Of Endocarditis?

Endocarditis is caused by a bacterial infection, and the risks of developing it are much higher if you have a heart condition or have had endocarditis before. The use of antibiotics before a dental procedure is sometimes seen as a sensible precaution against endocarditis, and you can talk to us at Guiney Dental Clinic if you think that you are at higher risk of developing the condition for any rea-son.

In some instances, bacteria in the mouth has been identified as the trigger for endocarditis amongst people who are at higher risk. Patients who develop gin-givitis, also known as gum disease, may find that the gums become inflamed and bleed, which may allow bacteria to get into the bloodstream and begin af-fecting other parts of the body, including the heart.

How To Prevent Bacterial Endocarditis:

The following measures may be useful in preventing endocarditis:

  1. Antibiotics before dental procedures.
    If you are at higher risk of develop-ing endocarditis, if you have had it before, for example, or you have a his-tory of cardiac problems, you may be offered a single dose of an antibiotic prior to some dental procedures. You can ask your dentist about whether this would be a good option for you.
  2. Talk to your dentist.
    Your dentist will ask about your general health, and it is important to discuss any changes that have occurred since your last visit. If you have had any surgery on your heart or the valves that sur-round it, it is very important to talk to your dentist about this, and you should also let him or her know if you have been diagnosed with any heart conditions. Your dentist may wish to speak with your doctor as well, to ensure that any treatment you are offered is appropriate in your case.
  3. Take medications with you.
    If you are taking medication for any health condition, you should ensure that your dentist is aware of this. Take a list of all medications and dosages you are taking, or take the medications themselves along with you to ensure that your dentist has all the neces-sary information to treat you.
  4. Look after your teeth.
    Preventing endocarditis - and many other health conditions - involves taking good care of your teeth and gums. You should brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, use mouthwash if your dentist recommends it, and seek further advice if you are at higher risk of endocarditis.

Do You Need A Good Cork Dentist?

If you’re looking for a good dentist, visit us at Guiney Dental Clinic. We are friendly and experienced, and we work with adults and children to protect dental health for life. For excellent dental advice and treatment, call Guiney Dental to-day on 021-481 0535.


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