Home Doctor NewsDental News Children with adverse heart conditions are more likely to have dental issues, study suggests

Children with adverse heart conditions are more likely to have dental issues, study suggests

by Vaishali Sharma
children's teeth

According to a CDC study, children with heart issues are more likely to suffer cavities, toothaches, or bleeding gums.

If oral bacteria enter the circulation, children with heart disease may be predisposed to additional illnesses such as infective endocarditis, according to the study. The uncommon illness causes inflammation in the inner lining of the heart and can be fatal.

“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.

The study compared the oral health status and recent dental treatment of children with and without cardiac problems using data from the National Survey of Children’s Health from 2016 to 2019.

Approximately 10% of children and teens ages 1-17 with heart disorders had “poor” to “good” oral health, compared to 5% of children without heart problems. Around 17% of people with heart disease also exhibited signs of poor oral health, such as damaged teeth or cavities.

Children with a heart disease had poorer dental health, as did those with lower home finances and intellectual and developmental difficulties.

Furthermore, one in every six children with heart disease had not had preventative dental treatment in the previous 12 months.

Children with heart issues may be more prone to poor dental health and cavities for a variety of reasons, according to Karrie Downing, the study’s primary author and a CDC researcher. They may have had surgeries or other treatments that make caring for their teeth and gums more difficult.

Children with heart issues may also have developmental or intellectual difficulties that make dental care more difficult, both at home and at the dentist’s office, according to her.

Heart drugs can also cause problems, according to Downing, since some produce dry mouth, which can lead to cavities.

Alene D’Alesio, DMD, chief of paediatric dentistry at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, who was not involved in the study, told UPI that parents may help their children by urging them to drink more water and avoid juices and sugary drinks.

“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.

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