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.

Friday, January 4, 2019

How to Sweeten Your Child’s Bad Breath

How to Sweeten Your Child’s Bad Breath

An often embarrassing problem, bad breath may be caused by unhealthy teeth. If you believe your child has persistent bad breath, you need to do more than cover it up with gum or mints. The underlying cause needs to be treated.

While bad breath is frequently caused by poor oral hygiene, it can also be caused by eating pungent foods or sucking on a thumb or other object. If your child’s bad breath is caused by thumbsucking, the bad breath should go away when he or she breaks the habit.

If your child’s bad breath is persistent, consider the following tips:
  • Have your child brush after each meal and floss once a day. This not only removes stray food particles that can cause bad breath but eliminates the buildup of bacteria, which can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and, yes, bad breath. Help with brushing and flossing if needed, and make sure your child gently brushes the top of his or her tongue as well.
  • Make sure your child eats a good breakfast to stimulate the flow of saliva. Drinking plenty of water and chewing sugar-free gum (with xylitol) can also reduce dry mouth and the buildup of bacteria.
  • Don’t give your child mouthwash that contains alcohol, which dries the mouth.
There is also a chance that your child’s bad breath could be caused by a sinus or respiratory infection, or by tonsil stones. Occasionally, a child may stick an object into his or her nose that then attracts bacteria and causes an odor.

Remember, we need to treat the underlying causes of bad breath because those causes can also lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Make sure your child sees Dr. Jared regularly so that we can assess his or her overall dental health. If your child has persistent bad breath or has not been to our office in a while, make an appointment to see us. We can make sure that your child has a healthy mouth, free from embarrassing bad breath.

If you have questions about your child's bad breath, click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jared. Or give us a call at (509)-891-7070.