Poor Dental Hygiene in Patients with Congenital Heart Disease
The connection between poor oral hygiene and heart problems is well established by medical research. However, new evidence suggests that periodontal disease also puts those with congenital heart problems at risk for developing endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart or heart valves.
Periodontal disease is an inflammation of the gum tissue that is caused by the harmful bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria can lead to infections deep within the gums, eventually causing the loss of gum tissue, connective tissue, bone, and even the loss of teeth. While these results are serious, the potential long term effects on the patient’s health are even more severe. If left unchecked, the bacteria that cause periodontal disease can lead to respiratory disease, certain cancers, and even heart disease, according to the American Association of Periodontology.
Recent research suggests that patients with congenital heart disease tend to live a healthier lifestyle on the whole. However, they are more likely to neglect their oral health than others in the same age group. This finding is problematic because the bacteria that can cause periodontal disease can also lead to endocarditis and other heart problems. Patients with congenital heart problems must take special care to avoid further damage to their hearts because their hearts are already not operating as efficiently as a normal heart would.
If you have a congenital heart problem, or any other heart problem, it is important to visit our dentist in Northridge for a regular checkup. Our Northridge periodontist will monitor you closely for signs of periodontal disease, and act quickly if symptoms of gum disease do begin to develop. These visits do more than preserve your radiant smile; they also can save your life.
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