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Pediatric » Pediatric Orthopedics

From Teeth to Heart- Baby's’ Dental Health and Paediatric Heart Diseases

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With a congenital heart disease, comes a long list of dos and don'ts. Apparently, a weak heart needs more protection from various other ailments because it’s vulnerable. Infective endocarditis is one such condition that anybody with a paediatric heart disease is more likely to get.


There is just one way out- Dental health upkeep.

What Is an Infective Endocarditis?

Call it infective. Or call it subacute bacterial endocarditis. This infection affects the inner lining of a human heart and starts destroying the tissues over there. Blown up endocarditis can make a person seriously ill and can also prove fatal.

How Would Anybody Get It?

A threat of this particular infection arises whenever a bacteria gets into a body’s bloodstream. Through the mouth is an easy passage.

Bacteria tend to live between unclean gums and teeth. Add to that, bleeding or inflamed gums and a dental disease and the bacteria feel right at home. Even a bleeding caused during a dental procedure can work as the carrier for mouth-residing bacteria.

They hop on the bloodstream train and get off at the heart station. There, the bacteria settle down into the valves or the tissues and start the destruction job.

And Why Are People with Congenital (Paediatric) Heart Diseases More Vulnerable?

A pre-existing heart condition, like a paediatric congenital heart disease, might cause the surface of the heart to develop rough patches. This roughening of the heart floor is more likely to appear as the best landing ground for the bacteria. They can form strings in the blood and get attached to that part of the heart.

With a CHD, like in the case of a damaged valve or a prosthetic one fitted in, the possibility of infection arises because the chances of having rough tissue sections in the heart are higher.

What Might the Symptoms Be for Endocarditis?

If a recent visit to the dentist is followed by tiredness, inactivity, fever that keeps fluctuating between high and normal levels, shivering, sweating at nights, and there is a history of a heart situation, a quick visit to the specialist cardiologist should very much be on the agenda.

A blood test (culture or count) and echocardiogram are helpful to determine the presence of absence of endocarditis.

What’s the Deal with the Preventive Antibiotics?

Antibiotics are used to ensure that a procedure that involves bleeding doesn’t let the bacteria into the bloodstream. It is more precautionary than a necessity, and the prime motive is to save the patient from infective endocarditis, which can just as easily be done by maintaining a healthy dental health.

Antibiotics are issued by heart doctors and must be followed if asked to.

How to Ensure Dental Health?

Brush twice a day and let each brushing episode be at least two minutes long. Use a soft brush. A back-and-forth, short and round stroke pattern works. A once a day floss routine and changing toothbrush every three months also help.

If there is a case of gums that bleed, red or white patches on the gums or teeth, pain in the mouth, sores that refuse to heal, and problems in chewing or swallowing, a visit to the dentist followed by one to the paediatric heart disease specialist (in case it is in fact endocarditis) should be considered.

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