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The way to a man’s heart is through his mouth!

Date :14/05/2015

Right, the age-old saying has been slightly modified! ‘Cause we’re not talking about winning over or person through his stomach with delicious tongue-tingling foodstuff as the proverb rightfully suggests. Far from it! This discussion centers on the fact that infection can enter the blood stream from the mouth and end right in your heart! Unbelievable but if you neglect the maintenance of good dental health, its not exactly heart warming! And before we go on to infective endocarditis, catch this bit on what sugar can do to your heart. Think twice before adding extra sugar to your coffee or morning cereal. According to a new report from the American Heart Association, adding sugar to your diet could give you clogged arteries! Sugar makes you fat and increase your risk of developing diabetes apart from lowering levels of the good cholesterol (HDL) in your body.So, keep your sugar intake in check as it puts you at great risk of heart disease and at a greater risk of decayed teeth!

What is infective endocarditis?

Infective endocarditis to due to microbial infection of a heart valve (either your own or a replaced one), the lining of a heart chamber or blood vessel.The causative organism enters the blood stream form various access sites such as the mouth (from gum abscesses, periodontal infections etc. And enter blood stream on chewing, teeth brushing or at the time of dental treatment), the skin (from skin infections, abscesses or intravenous sites) or the bowel (from large bowel tumours or urinary tract or bowel infections) or through post-operative wound infection following cardiac surgery. Once blood-borne the bacteria reach the heart valve or blood vessel and cause valve destruction, produce florid vegetations, which result in obstruction, conduction disorders and cardiac failure. Besides cardiac problems, endocarditis clinically presents persistent fever, bleeding beneath the skin, retina and under the finger or toe-nails, painful tender swellings at the fingertips and kidney disorders.

Red alert at the dental office:

The diagnosis and treatment of endocarditis is the cardiologist’s arena. However, there are two things you need to bear in mind when you see your dentist:

1. Do not forget to give your dentist your complete medical history, which should include every single minor or major procedure you’ve undergone, cardiac or otherwise. As people with valvular or congenital heart disease are susceptible to endocarditis, sufficient antibiotic prophylaxis is given before any dental procedure.

2. Whether or not you have a medical problem it is immensely important that you devote time to dental care and maintain hygiene. Do not make your mouth an access site for endocarditis, as the situation then is literally heart breaking!

The author is dental surgeon and can be contacted at ALL SMILES DENTAL CLINIC, 26673439, 9845085230.


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