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Oral Health and Risk of Endocarditis

Oral Health and Risk of EndocarditisPoor gum health can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, but recent studies have also indicated that those with congenital heart disease may be more prone to poor dental health. Our dentist in Northridge explains.

Two studies, which were presented in Denmark at the 12th Annual Spring Meeting on Cardiovascular Nursing, revealed that adolescents with congenital heart disease are more likely to have poor dental hygiene than their peers. Although these teens were more likely to have better health habits overall and tended to eschew drugs and alcohol, they tended to have poorer overall dental hygiene habits.

Failing to brush and floss frequently enough allows plaque to build up along the gumline and between the teeth. Plaque contains harmful oral bacteria, which irritate the gums. The resulting inflammation allows the bacteria to enter the bloodstream. There they trigger the formation of clotting proteins in the blood. The blood clots can form in the arteries around the heart and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, or the bacteria can lead to bacterial endocarditis, a potentially life-threatening infection of the lining of the heart.

Patients with congenital heart defects can take steps to preserve their heart health by taking a closer look at their dental health. Brush twice daily using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush, floss daily and finish with an anti-microbial mouth rinse. Visit our dentist twice a year for a professional cleaning and checkup.

Give us a call today to learn more or to schedule your next appointment.

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