Last year during American Heart Month, we highlighted the connection between periodontal disease and overall health. One of the most often discussed is the effect on heart disease. What is less frequently highlighted is the relationship between various cardiovascular conditions and dental treatment.
So this year, we at Amsterdam Dental Group want to focus on the care and precautions important for patients suffering from the many types of heart disease. This can include reviewing medications, measuring blood pressure and even delaying treatment. But nothing is more important than open communication to provide the best possible care.
Here are some common conditions and related dental treatment.
- Heart Attack
After a heart attack, dental treatment should be delayed at least six months. Since cases, conditions and medications differ, most dentists will want to consult your physician as it may impact the method of treatment as in the case of blood thinners and cautions related to dental surgery or extractions. Another is to ensure oxygen and nitroglycerin is on hand during appointments.
- High Blood Pressure
There are a number of possible oral side effects to high blood pressure medications – dry mouth, altered taste, gum overgrowth and faintness. Although most will safely interact with anti-anxiety drugs and local anesthesia, it is important for your dentist to be made aware of any prescriptions. For those suffering with this condition, a baseline blood pressure should be taken at the start of each visit and monitored throughout the procedure.
Dental treatment will vary for stable and unstable angina sufferers. Stable angina generally does not require special circumstances except having oxygen and nitroglycerin on hand. For those with unstable angina, only emergency dental care should be undertaken during which your heart should be monitored continuously.
There are various long-term effects caused by a stroke and some can impact oral health care. To help, special toothbrushes and floss holders are available along with fluoride gel and saliva substitutes. Denture wearers may require adjustments. Although routine dental care is safe, it is recommended to bring a copy of recent bloodwork and have your dental and medical professionals consult prior to in depth dental procedures.
- Congestive Heart Failure
In general, there are usually no special guidelines for those with congestive heart failure (CHF), yet your dentist may choose different alternatives based upon prescribed medications. For those with more severe CHF, dental chair position should be modulated to avoid possible fluid build-up in your lungs. Patients should refrain from sitting up quickly, which can cause light-headedness. In some cases, dental treatment may be best suited in a hospital setting.
- Pacemaker Wearers
Patients with a pacemaker should avoid non-emergency dental care for several weeks after implantation. Once cleared, it is important to review any possible interactions between your dentist’s electromagnetic devices and pacemakers. The dental staff can check this in advance with a call to the manufacturer and your dentist can plan accordingly.
In the end, the interrelationship between heart health and oral health cannot be untangled. They often go hand in hand. The best advice is to open the lines of communication between your dentist and physician – both who will have your best interests and care at heart.
For more information, please contact any member of the Amsterdam Dental staff or your dental professional.
Try these tips on breaking bad habits instead of your teeth
It’s the new year and perfect time to brush away some bad habits ~ especially those that can harm your teeth and wreak havoc on a winning smile. Here are just some of the common ways we damage our teeth and tips to overcome them.
- Nail Biting:
It’s not something everyone does nor taste good. But this nervous habit can do more than chip teeth. Placing pressure in a protruding position for sustained periods of time can cause jaw dysfunction. Solution: Start by recognizing some of the triggers that cause nail biting and try to keep your hands and fingers busy. Other ideas include bitter-tasting nail polish and stress reduction toys or tools.
- Brushing Too Hard:
We all know the mantra – brush teeth for two minutes twice a day. However, brushing forcefully or with a hard toothbrush can often do more harm than good, including damaging both teeth and gums. Solution: A first step is to use an ADA-approved soft toothbrush and the motion should be more akin to a massage than scrubbing the bathroom floor.
- Grinding and Clenching:
This habit is one that is sometimes so subconscious that we don’t realize we are doing it. Especially when it takes place while sleeping. This can result in chipped or cracked teeth but also sore muscles and joints. Solution: Relaxation is key and yes, easier said than done. In such cases, certain exercises can help. If this occurs primarily when asleep, a mouth guard may be needed overnight.
- Chewing Ice Cubes:
Imagine two crystals pressed against one another. That’s the same as tooth enamel and ice – both are crystals. While more often teeth win, chewing on ice can cause a tooth or filling to break. Solution: There are a couple ways to curb this habit, including drinking cold beverages without ice or use a straw.
- Constant Snacking:
Who can resist noshing throughout the day but sugary foods and drinks can really put your teeth at risk for cavities. The on-going presence of bacteria produces acid and damages a tooth’s outer shell. Solution: Step one is to eat well balanced meals. This helps you feel fuller, longer. Yet snacking is far too tempting so choose something low in fat and sugar. When your sweet tooth does takeover, have a big glass of water to wash away leftover bacteria.
- Using Teeth As Tools:
The only job teeth should be used for is eating. They are not a vice when hands are full nor scissors to tear a plastic bag. Such actions can cause cracked teeth, injured jaws and accidental swallowing. Solution: Take a moment to find someone or something else to help with the job at hand.
So, start the year of right and break those bad habits and not your teeth. If questions or conditions arise, contact any member of the Amsterdam Dental staff or any dental professional.
Keep Smiling with Dental Health Tips
Who can refuse marshmallow-topped yams or sweetly tart cranberry sauce? Not to mention traditional pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped cream? Yes, it’s that time of year and Thanksgiving gatherings are upon us. As we prepare to dig in and enjoy, here are some easy yet wise dental health tips to keep in mind…
- Shorten Meal Time. Enjoying friends and family for hours is great, but eating that long can wreak havoc on teeth. Prolonged exposure to the acids in food can increase cavity-causing bacteria.
- Stay Hydrated. Drinking water is always good but even more so when rich, sweet foods are on the menu. A light rinse can wash away debris, prevent plaque and help improve saliva flow – all to fight cavities.
- Brush and Floss. Dental hygiene diligence is key throughout the holidays so bring a toothbrush and floss for a quick powder room escape 30 minutes after the meal. No time? Keep some sugar free gum on hand.
- Avoid sticky sides. Cranberry relishes, pecan pie and even mashed potatoes can stick to teeth for hours, creating an ideal environment for gum infection and enamel erosion. A swish with water or quick brush will help.
- Schedule Cleaning Appointment. After days-filled with rich foods, schedule a dental cleaning visit to check for cavities, excess plaque and any signs of disease. Cosmetic treatments are also available to correct any damage.
Celebrate the holidays with a beautiful, healthy smile. If questions or conditions arise, contact any member of the Amsterdam Dental staff or any dental professional.