Connecting Your Heart and Your Mouth

We mostly think of heart problems as affecting adults, but some children are born with heart issues. When the heart problem is something you’re born with we call it congenital heart disease. Infants with congenital heart disease are often required to eat more frequently for nutritional issues. This type of diet is beneficial to the cardiovascular (heart) system, but may have negative effects on the health of your infant’s mouth.


Antibiotics may also be needed more frequently for the children with congenital heart problems. Antibiotics work against bacteria, but they work against both good and bad bacteria in your body. This is why we often get yeast infections or diarrhea when we take antibiotics. The antibiotics may affect both mouth and gut flora (bacteria). Oral Health should be monitored by a dentist starting from an early age and the monitoring should continue on a regular basis.


For adults, the presence of periodontal (gum) disease is linked to both heart disease and strokes. Gums bleed when there is poor oral hygiene. Bleeding gums is a sign of gum disease in all its stages. The current theory is that bacteria from the mouth enter your bloodstream when your gums bleed (whether during dental office treatment or while brushing or flossing at home). These bacteria stick to platelets in your bloodstream and form blood clots which can interrupt blood flow to your heart, triggering a heart attack, or get trapped elsewhere in your body and cause a stroke.


Regular home and professional dental care can control gum disease and reduce how often your gums bleed. Professional care is important because often your toothbrush and floss cannot reach as far below the gum as the bacteria are if you have advanced gum disease. Your dentist can help you tailor your home care to your specific needs to best help you! Make a dental appointment today and give your heart the love it deserves!

You can also learn more about Blood Pressure Medications & Your Gums in the Dear Doctor section of my website.

Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist. She is accepting new patients at her office located at 1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH 44053. Call 440-960-1940.