Friday, January 18, 2019

How Your Child’s Mouth Affects Cardiac Health


While we don’t normally think of teeth having much in common with the heart, children with cardiac issues require special dental care. Not only can certain heart medications cause side effects in the mouth but some dental procedures can be dangerous for those with congenital heart defects if proper precautions are not taken. Luckily, we know these risks well and will work with you to make sure both your child’s teeth and heart stay healthy.

Until 2007, people with any type of heart issue were told to take antibiotics one hour before dental procedures. These patients were thought to be at risk for developing infective endocarditis, a serious disease resulting from a bacterial infection in the tissues of the heart and lung, since bacteria can be introduced into the body via the mouth. Because children who contract infective endocarditis typically must be admitted to the hospital and treated with IV medications, taking every precaution to prevent this from happening made sense. However, more recent studies showed that only patients with specific types of heart defects need prophylactic antibiotics, causing the American Heart Association to revise their protocols. Now, prophylactic antibiotics are recommended only if your child has
  • a heart valve repaired with prosthetic material
  • a history of endocarditis
  • a heart transplant with abnormal valve function
  • cyanotic congenital heart disease that has not been fully repaired
  • a congenital heart defect repaired within the past six months using prosthetic materials or device
  • residual effects despite a repaired congenital heart defect
Dr. Jared can discuss the best course of action with your child’s cardiologist. Make sure we know all of the medications your child is taking, and discuss his or her medical history at every appointment.

Because there appears to be a correlation between gum disease and heart disease, healthy teeth and gums are especially important for children with cardiac issues. Regularly scheduled appointments at KiDDS Dental, as well as regular brushing and flossing, will help keep your child healthy and smiling.

Call us to schedule an appointment today!  509-891-7070.

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