Brushing teeth does a body good
Oral health closely linked to well-being of heart, lungs, blood, experts say
By Iris Winston, Postmedia News May 25, 2011
Few people realize how closely oral health is linked to cardiac health, says Dr. Michael Froeschl, an interventional cardiologist at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.
"Oral health is critically important in patients who are at risk of developing infections of the heart and heart valves," says Froeschl. "This is particularly true for patients who have had a valve replacement with either biologic material or a mechanical valve."
This is why dental assessments are required before heart-valve surgery and why "patients are encouraged to practise very conscientious oral hygiene and make regular dentists' visits as the most important thing they can do to decrease the risk of infection of their new valve," says Froeschl.
"We used to emphasize the importance of (patients taking) antibiotics around the time of a dental visit," he adds. "That is still recommended for people with artificial valves -the evidence is not as established for patients who have had valve repair though it is still recommended -but now the emphasis is really on regular dental visits and oral care at home."
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