A CDC research found that children with cardiac problems are more likely to have cavities, toothaches, or bleeding gums.
According to the study, if oral bacteria reach the bloodstream, children with heart disease may be vulnerable to further ailments such as infective endocarditis. The unusual condition, which can be deadly, produces inflammation in the inner lining of the heart.
“Therefore, preventive dental care (i.e., check-ups, dental cleaning, radiographs, fluoride treatment, or sealant) to maintain oral health is important,” the study authors wrote.
Using data from the National Survey of Children’s Health from 2016 to 2019, the researchers evaluated the oral health status and recent dental treatment of children with and without cardiac issues.
Approximately 10% of children and teenagers aged 1-17 who had cardiac diseases had “poor” to “excellent” dental health, compared to 5% of children who did not have heart problems. Around 17% of persons with heart disease also had indicators of poor oral health, such as chipped or decayed teeth.
Children with heart illness had worse oral health, as did those with lower household income and intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Furthermore, one out of every six children with heart disease had not had preventative dental care in the preceding year.
According to Karrie Downing, the study’s principal author and a CDC researcher, children with heart problems may be more prone to poor oral health and cavities for a variety of reasons. They may have undergone surgeries or other procedures that make it more difficult to care for their teeth and gums.
According to her, children with heart problems may also have developmental or intellectual impairments that make dental care more challenging, both at home and at the dentist’s office.
According to Downing, heart medications can also create difficulties since some induce dry mouth, which can lead to cavities.
“I don’t want anyone to think that heart disease equals cavities,” she said.
D’Alesio also suggested that parents watch their children’s brushing and flossing habits and consider purchasing an electric toothbrush or floss pick to assist them maintain good oral health. Children with heart issues may also require more frequent dental visits, according to her.“They should see a pediatric dentist no later than the age of 1,” she said.