Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots
Oral health centre
This content is selected and controlled by BootsWebMD's editorial staff and is supported by Colgate.
Select An Article

Dental health and endocarditis prevention

Bacteria in the mouth may trigger a rare, life-threatening heart infection called endocarditis.

Bacteria in tooth plaque can spread causing gum disease. The gums become inflamed, red and swollen, and often bleed during tooth brushing, flossing or certain dental procedures involving the manipulation of the gums.

When gums bleed, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and can infect other parts of the body. In the case of endocarditis, this affects the inner lining of the heart and the surfaces of the heart valves. The bacteria stick to these surfaces and create growths or pockets of bacteria. These growths, called vegetations, may then prevent the valves from functioning properly, making the heart less efficient and in some cases leading to heart failure.

Is there anything else I can do to reduce my risk of infective endocarditis?

  • Tell your dentist if your health has changed since your last visit. Always let your dentist know if you have had heart or blood vessel (vascular) surgery within the past six months. Also tell them if you have been diagnosed with other heart conditions.
  • Make sure your dentist has a complete list of the names and dosages of your medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
  • Make sure your dentist has the names and phone numbers of all of your doctors. Your dentist may want to consult with your GP or specialist about your dental care plan and medication choices.
  • Practise good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day; floss at least once a day. Good oral and dental health is very important for patients at risk of endocarditis.

 

What are the symptoms of endocarditis?

Possible symptoms of endocarditis include:

Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on August 05, 2016

Stay informed

Sign up for BootsWebMD's free newsletters.
Sign Up Now!

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

mature woman
Go for the glow!
avacado on whole wheat crackers
Plenty of healthy options
bowl of soup
Small changes that lead to weight loss
baby eating from spoon
What to feed your baby in the first year
cold sore
How to cope with cold sores
womans eye
See what eye conditions look like
toddler doodling
What to expect in your child's second year
bain illustration
Best foods for your brain
bucket with cleaning supplies in it
Cleaning for a healthy home
mother and child
Could your baby be allergic to milk?
cute baby
Simple tips to keep baby's skin healthy