Whether you've experienced a heart attack, hypertension, stroke or angina, having any type of heart disease can mean it's necessary to make changes to your dental health routines. You will need to make your dentist aware you have heart disease, as they may need to make some changes to how they deliver your dental care and being aware of your health condition will allow them to spot oral problems relating to heart disease more easily. Here's an overview of 3 ways heart disease can impact your dental health:
Some drugs commonly prescribed for heart disease can cause you to have a dry mouth. This doesn't sound like a serious side-effect, but having a dry mouth creates an environment that oral bacteria thrive in, which can lead to an increase in cavities, plaque build-up and gum disease. Your dentist may recommend you brush more regularly at home, or that you schedule more frequent cleaning appointments at their office. When dental health is being severely impacted, your dentist may recommend you use artificial saliva. This is a lubricant that creates a protective film over your teeth and gums to reduce the impact of oral bacterial overload.
Reduced Brushing Capacity
If you've had a stroke or are in the recovery period after having a heart attack, you may find it physically difficult to brush your teeth. To prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar and to keep your gums healthy, your dentist may recommend you use a modified toothbrush that's easier to hold or mouthwash with a higher fluoride concentration. They may also recommend you visit their office regularly to have fluoride gel applied to your teeth. This creates a protective coating and helps keep tooth enamel healthy.
Gum Tissue Overgrowth
Some medications used for heart disease can cause your gum tissue to swell and begin to grow over your teeth. This can make it difficult to chew and put you at an increased risk of developing gum disease due to food particles getting stuck behind the swollen gum tissue. Your dentist may recommend you have more frequent teeth cleaning appointments to allow them to remove plaque from under the swollen tissue and keep a closer eye on your oral health. They may also recommend oral surgery to trim away excess tissue.
If you have heart disease and are overdue a dental check-up, schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Your dentist will work with you to keep your teeth and gums healthy, while also taking your heart health and medication into consideration when planning your treatment.
To learn more, reach out to a local dentist.