Your oral health is important for your overall body health. Neglected oral care can contribute to the development of cardiovascular and other diseases. Good oral and dental care can both prevent illness and improve the efficacy of treatment of pre-existing diseases.

Oral infections are a threat to your general health

Oral infections can weaken the prognoses of systemic diseases, such as rheumatism and diabetes. They increase the infection risk in surgical patients, may predispose to cardiovascular diseases, and increase the risk of myocardial and cerebral infarction.

Dental health and surgical operations

Neglected dental health results in an infection risk for e.g. a joint replacement or a prosthetic heart valve. For this reason, all your oral and dental problems must be treated before surgical operations requiring hospitalisation.

If you have an asymptomatic dental infection, you cannot notice it yourself. An asymptomatic dental infection, which may begin to show symptoms e.g. in connection with a common cold, spreads bacteria into the bloodstream.

It is important to diagnose and treat bacterial infections that unnecessarily burden the human defence system. An asymptomatic infection or inflammation is usually noticed in an X-ray image or dental examination carried out by a dental practitioner.

When is antibiotic medication needed before dental care?

If there are untreated colonies of bacteria in the mouth, the bacteria will spread through the bloodstream to other parts of the body. In particular, dental procedures that penetrate the mucosa may cause bacteremia, or the occurrence of bacteria in the bloodstream.

Bacteremia can cause problems for people with heart disease such as a congenital heart defect, valvular heart disease, prosthetic heart valves or a history of endocarditis, or inflammation of the inner layer of the heart. In order to prevent the spread of bacteria in the bloodstream, antibiotic therapy should be administered before the procedure.

Medication is also needed in situations where the body’s own defence system is weak or weakened due to medication. Antibiotic treatment is needed by diabetics with a poor stability of the disease, transplant patients, people suffering from severe rheumatism and people who have recently had joint replacement surgery.
Good oral hygiene is particularly important in chronic diseases.

Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease and oral health are known to be linked. Poor oral health may even promote atherosclerosis and increase the risk of myocardial infarction. Taking care of oral hygiene is paramount in cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular disease prevention. In order to prevent the spread of oral infections, they should always be treated without delay. Antibiotic medication before procedures is recommended in particular for people with a congenital heart defect, valvular heart disease, prosthetic heart valves or a history of endocarditis.

Diabetes

Good oral hygiene is particularly important also in diabetes. The better the oral health, the better the glycemic control of diabetes, and vice versa. Diseases of the gum are more common in diabetics than in healthy people. As the secretion of saliva decreases, the teeth may decay more easily. Effective home care and frequent inspections keep both mouth infections and diabetes in check. Antibiotic protection is needed if diabetes is poorly controlled.

Organ transplant patients

The defensive system of transplant patients works poorly because of the strong medication. A transplant patient’s mouth must be completely healthy before and after the transplant operation. All dental infections can be fatal when the body’s own defence system works poorly. In many cases, transplant patients need antibiotic protection before treatment.

Rheumatism

The treatment of rheumatism involves medication that weakens the immune system. In addition, people suffering from rheumatism often have reduced saliva production. Due to the dry mouth, teeth are easily decayed. In order to prevent infections of the mouth from spreading into joints, the teeth should be cleaned extra carefully. It is a good idea to visit the dentist several times a year.

Taking good care of oral hygiene is important in other chronic illnesses as well. In addition, special attention should be paid to oral health during pregnancy.