Medication and Heart Disease

It is not often mentioned, but sometimes, the health of your teeth can be affected by certain medications. If you are taking any medication, it would be beneficial to consult with your dentist to discuss any possible detrimental effects. At our office, we consider oral infection very seriously, and want to ensure that the health of your gums and teeth is never at risk.

One of the most common side effects associated with many medications is dry mouth. This condition can be caused by antihistamines, diuretics, decongestants, and pain killers. Additionally, dry mouth can be a problem for people with various medical conditions. Even the food you eat can sometimes be a culprit, such as garlic and cigarettes.

Dry mouth is a concern because it means that the production of saliva has significantly decreased. As saliva is one of your body's natural defenses against plaque and other germs, the risk of oral infection increases when there is not enough saliva present to effectively rinse your mouth of cavity-causing bacteria and other harmful materials.

Dry mouth can also cause you to have an overly sensitive tongue, chronic thirst or even difficulty in speaking.

Heart Disease

Proper dental hygiene is always important for the health of your mouth, but did you know it could also affect your heart if not practiced?

Medical research has uncovered a definitive link between heart disease and certain kinds of oral infections, such as periodontal disease. Some have even suggested that gum disease could sometimes be even more dangerous than tobacco use.

At our dental practice, we stress proper oral hygiene, because we are aware of how an oral infection can expand beyond your mouth. Harmful bacteria can spread through the bloodstream to your liver, which produces harmful proteins that can lead to systemic cardiac problems. Practicing good oral hygiene, which includes brushing, flossing and rinsing, helps to keep infections at bay.

Antibiotic Prophylaxis

If you are a patient with a compromised immune system or just someone who fears an oral infection, then might consider taking some antibiotics before your dental appointment. Antibiotics will help to destroy any harmful bacteria that could potentially enter your bloodstream during a dental procedure in which tissues are cut or bleeding occurs.

An otherwise healthy immune system is normally able to fight such bacteria without the aid of antibiotics.

However, certain cardiovascular conditions in patients with weakened hearts could be at risk for an infection or heart muscle inflammation (bacterial endocarditis) resulting from a dental procedure.

We advise any patients with a heart condition (including weakened heart valves) to inform our office before undergoing any dental procedure. Complications can be avoided with the proper antibiotic.