FAQs Regarding Dental Health And Heart Health

If you have a heart condition, you may already know what medications you need and how this condition affects your day-to-day activities. However, if you need to go into the dentist for a cleaning, you may wonder how your heart condition affects your dental care. Here are a few FAQs regarding dental cleanings and heart health

Do You Really Need to Update Your Dentist on Your Heart Condition?

Yes! You should always keep your dental office up to date on your health history just like you would at your primary physician's office—even for a dental cleaning. The dental office occasionally uses medications, like a local anesthetic, which can be a concern for patients with heart conditions. For example, if you need to get a deeper cleaning (known as scaling and root planing), your dentist may use a local anesthetic, like lidocaine.

According to Colgate, some dentists believe that epinephrine in local anesthetics can cause a rapid rise in blood pressure and heart rate. Although, some studies only note that there are small changes to these vitals. However, it's important to let your doctor know your heart history so he or she can choose the best course of treatment. There are local anesthetics without epinephrine that your doctor can use if he or she deems that is a safer route.

Can Dental Cleanings Help Your Heart Condition?

Poor oral health hasn't been proved to cause heart disease. However, studies have shown that there is a definite link between poor oral health and heart health; the Mayo Clinic says that

  • Patterns of tooth loss are connected to coronary artery disease.
  • Poor oral health can increase the risk of bacterial infections in the bloodstream, which could affect your heart valves
  • People with gum disease have an increased risk of heart disease

Although the causality between poor oral health and heart disease is still unclear, there is still a connection between the two; so, it's important to participate in preventative measures such as at-home brushing and regular dental cleanings.  

Do You Need to Take an Antibiotic Before a Dental Visit if You Have a Heart Condition?

In the past, if a person had some type of congenital heart disease, he or she would need to take an antibiotic before a dental procedure. This precaution was meant to prevent people from getting infective endocarditis (IE) since people with IE could be susceptible to bacteria from more invasive dental procedures.

However, in 2007, the American Heart Association created new guidelines that narrow the list of people who may need to take antibiotics before treatment. Some of these patients include those who

  • Had infective endocarditis in the past
  • Have prosthetic cardiac valves
  • Had a heart transplant with valve regurgitation
  • Have a cyanotic congenital heart disease o

Again, it's always a good idea to consult with your dentist and cardiologist about your needs and your options regarding your heart condition.

Contact a dental office like Family & Cosmetic Dentistry today for more information about dental cleanings and other services.