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Heart disease has been proven to have a direct link to dental health. It is extremely important to maintain adequate oral hygiene if you have ever suffered from heart related disease such as heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, angina, or congestive heart failure.

Heart Attack

A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, is a severe pain that starts in the heart and migrates its way to the lower jaw. Individuals who have experienced a heart attack should wait at least six months before receiving dental treatment. This delay in treatment is due to the use of anticoagulants, which prevent the blood from clotting normally. This can be problematic when it comes to tooth distraction procedures. Therefore, be sure to list all medications that you are taking when discussing treatment with your dentist.

High Blood Pressure

If you are currently taking medication to treat hypertension, or high blood pressure, you need to inform your dentist of this use. The drugs used to treat high blood pressure are linked to dry mouth, altered sense of taste, and even fainting. Other drugs for treating high blood pressure can cause overgrowth of the gums.


Angina is similar to a heart attack and can be felt in the same way, starting in the heart and radiating to the lower jaw. Medications for this Angina will cause the enlargement of the gums.

Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure medications can lead to dry mouth and altered sense of taste. If there aren’t any side effects present, it is usually quite safe to receive dental treatments without any cause for worry. If you have experienced severe heart failure, however, it is best to seek dental treatment in a hospital setting. Lying flat down on your back could cause fluid build up in the lungs and should be monitored closely.

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery

Coronary artery bypass surgery patients will experience a severe level of discomfort while reclining in the dentist’s chair. This discomfort is due to a side effect of the surgery. The surgery involves bypassing the blocked artery by grafting another artery, taken from a different location in the body.


Electrical impulses are brought about through the use of a pacemaker to assist in the regulation of the beating of the heart. If you have a pacemaker, all electromagnetic devices are to be avoided. Dental procedures also need to be delayed for several weeks after the initial surgery.

Infective Endocarditis

Infective endocarditis is an infection of the heart valves. It occurs when microorganisms enter through the mouth and make their way to the heart valves. It is important for individuals with weakened hearts to take antibiotics before dental procedures. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends the use of antibiotics for individuals who have artificial heart valves, heart transplants or heart defects. They also advise taking antibiotics before receiving tooth extractions, root canals, implants, tooth cleaning if bleeding is common, injections, dental avulsion, periodontal procedures, orthodontic banding, and placement of antibiotic strips of fibres below the gum line.

Are you concerned about how your oral health is affecting your heart? Call Dr. O’Donnell today, a local dentist in Centreville VA.

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