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Business News/ Science / Health/  Is poor oral hygiene associated with heart disease?

Is poor oral hygiene associated with heart disease?

Doctors say that poor oral hygiene may also raise the risk of other health issues like heart disease

Picture for representation. Meet a dentist for dental care every six months.Premium
Picture for representation. Meet a dentist for dental care every six months.

Poor oral hygiene does not only cause dental problems, it may also raise the risk of other health issues like heart disease. Lack of proper oral hygiene may make the growth of acid-producing bacteria easy in the mouth and maximize the risk of oral and dental problems.

In a conversation with Livemint, Dr. Gajinder Kumar Goyal, director of cardiology, Marengo Asia Hospitals, Faridabad said the bacteria causing gum disease may travel throughout the body via blood vessels. Gradually, the bacteria may destroy the blood vessels and heart valves by causing inflammation in them. 

This raises the risk of complications like blood clots, stroke, endocarditis (inflammation of the inner lining of the heart), and heart attack, he added

Dental care tips for people with heart conditions

Heart patients should share their medical history and details of prescription or nonprescription drugs that they might be taking for their condition, with the dentist.

People with endocarditis or those at risk of this condition should take extra care of their oral hygiene. Endocarditis is a medical condition in which an infection (mostly bacterial) leads to inflammation in the inner lining of the heart. Such people may need antibiotic medication before any dental work.

Patients who are lined up to undergo heart valve surgery are advised to seek their dentist advice to boost their oral hygiene. Excellent oral hygiene is an important prerequisite for surgery as unhealthy teeth are a major source of bacteria that may trigger endocarditis.

People who have experienced heart attack (myocardial infarction) are advised to wait for at least six months before undergoing any major dental procedure. Simple procedures such as dental cleaning can be followed.

People who have experienced a stroke should also inform their dentist if they are on anticoagulants (blood-thinning medications). The medication can become the cause of excessive bleeding during certain dental surgical procedures.

Certain medications for high blood pressure (hypertension) may also lead to dry mouth or an altered sense of taste.

People who are taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications are recommended to consult their dentist and cardiologist before undergoing any dental or oral procedure.

Ways to maintain proper oral health 

Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day

Cut down intake of foods and beverages that are acidic or sugary

Avoid or limit snacking in-between meals

Say goodbye to smoking

Avoid alcohol use

To keep you hydrated, drink plenty amount of water

Incorporate vegetables and fruits in your daily diet

Meet a dentist for dental care every six months.

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Published: 20 Mar 2023, 01:46 PM IST
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