If your child was born with a congenital heart defect, then you will need to encourage good oral hygiene to reduce complications. And, it is best to make sure that your child's dentist is providing proper oral care regularly. If you want to know why this is the case or what your dentist will do, keep reading.
Why Is Oral Care Important For The Heart?
Oral care is extremely important if your child has a congenital heart defect for many different reasons. When it comes to the teeth and gums, these defects will often reduce the amount of blood that feeds the tissues. This is due to generally poor heart function and reduced bodily perfusion. And, this, in turn, can lead to gums and teeth that are not as strong and healthy as they should be. The teeth typically will not be as mineral dense either, meaning that cavities are a concern that should be addressed promptly.
The heart is also something that must be considered, especially since bacteria can travel through the small capillaries in the gums and make their way to the heart. This can cause infection issues such as endocarditis, which can be quite dangerous if the heart is already weak. Also, bacteria can lead to the growth of masses on the heart valves. These are called vegetations and can cause valvular prolapse or stenosis and replacement may be needed.
Keep in mind that if bacteria are able to thrive in the heart, the microorganisms can break free and travel elsewhere, so sepsis may be a concern too.
How Can Your Dentist Help?
Your child's dentist can do many things to help ensure that oral care is retained. They can schedule regular cleanings that will help to remove the plaque and tartar so that bacteria are kept in check. They can also inspect the gums for early signs of gum disease so it can be treated immediately to prevent the spread of microorganisms. This is also true when it comes to identifying cavities early on.
Dentists will also prescribe both oral antibiotics and rinses before any treatment is provided to minimize infection concerns. They may also use gentle techniques to keep bleeding to a minimum since anticoagulants are typically required to prevent clotting issues when heart problems are present.
If you want to know more about the way that a dental professional can assist your child who has a congenital heart problem, speak with an oral care professional.