Is Dental Treatment safe for a child with Cardiac Issues?
Oral Health for Children with a Heart Condition
Have you ever heard "healthy mouth, healthy body"? Ok, now you've heard it!
Oral health and dental care are vital factors in having a healthy body.
Your teeth and gums' health can impact your overall well being.
Therefore, practising good oral hygiene is important for adults and children, especially children with heart conditions.
Did you know?
The risk of invasive dental procedures is relatively higher for children with congenital heart disease who do not maintain good oral health.
May you be thinking about the connection of your child's mouth to their heart? Is there any?
What is infective endocarditis, and how does it occur?
What is the relationship between your child's mouth and their heart?!
It may sound surprising, but the same bacteria responsible for tooth decay or dental caries in your child's teeth can also put their heart at risk, especially if they already have abnormal (leaky or narrow) heart valves or artificial (artificial) prosthetic) heart valve.
The bacteria in the teeth can travel to your child's heart through the bloodstream and cause a dangerous infection called endocarditis.
So, Yes! Your child's dental health is connected to their heart health!
Infective endocarditis is sometimes referred to as bacterial endocarditis. It is a serious and dangerous infection of the inner lining of the heart muscle that is caused when bacteria or germs enter the bloodstream.
The infection can be life-threatening because it can damage your child's heart valves.
Infective endocarditis needs serious attention and admission to the hospital.
Who has an increased risk of infective endocarditis?
Risk factors of infective endocarditis
Children with congenital heart disease or cyanotic heart disease are more likely to develop infective endocarditis than healthy children. It is especially applied to those with poor dental health.
Good oral health, regular brushing, and having regular dental check-ups are especially essential for children with cardiac conditions.
Now let’s see how congenital heart defects affect the oral health of children?
Potential problems that a child with CHD experiences with oral health
Children with heart conditions or cardiovascular disease are at higher risk of developing dental health problems such as tooth decay or gum disease because they have weaker tooth enamel than healthy children.
The enamel in baby teeth is relatively weaker, but congenital heart defects can also get in the way of proper enamel formation in children.
These children's teeth may also become weak due to a low blood oxygen level.
Besides, certain cardiac medications that a child with heart conditions take may cause them to experience dry mouth.
As you may probably know, a dry mouth can lead to tooth decay; try to keep your child as hydrated as possible. You can also ask them to rinse their mouth after taking their medicines.
A child with congenital heart disease may experience gastroesophageal reflux, which can cause enamel erosion.
GORD will put children's teeth to frequent stomach acid exposure, leading to enamel erosion.
Good oral hygiene for children with congenital heart disease
Dental care for children with CHD
- Arrange your child's first visit with a dentist early to ensure their dental health. Baby teeth often begin to erupt at about six months of age; parents are advised to arrange their child's first dental visit before their child's first birthday, even if the child does not have any dental problem.
- Look for an experienced paediatric dentist who can create a positive attitude towards dentists in your child.
- It helps to ask your child's cardiologist if they know a good child's dentist who is also familiar with treating children with CHD.
- Start brushing your child's teeth as soon as their primary teeth have emerged.
- Discuss the best toothbrush and toothpaste for your child with a child's dentist near me.
- Brush your child's teeth at least twice a day.
- It's good to let your children practise brushing their teeth, but you are recommended to monitor them until they are eight years of age.
- Avoid giving your child lots of sugary foods and drink to protect their teeth from decay and cavity.
- Discuss your child's condition with their dentist before the appointment. Dentists may need to take some special precautions for children with congenital heart disease before the treatment. Some children may need to take antibiotic prophylaxis if they are prone to bacterial endocarditis.
- Inform the dentist if your child is taking certain medications such as aspirin, Warfarin, and other blood thinners before any dental procedures.
- You can also ask your child's cardiologist if the cardiac medications interfere with the dental procedure. They may decide to change their child's medications before certain dental procedures.
- Bring your child to visit with their dentist every 6-9 months.
Did you know?
Did you know children with congenital heart defects have greater risks of dental decay and cavities because of the sweetened medicine they take?
That's why our paediatric dentists insist on arranging regular dental check-ups for children with heart conditions.
Our Brisbane dentists' priority is your child's health; they will go through your child's medical history thoroughly to ensure the safety of the dental procedure for your child.