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Dental health is key for keeping heart patients healthy
Updated: 3/16/2012 9:00:14 PM

Dental health is key for keeping heart patients healthy  

Congential heart disease is a problem with the function of the heart that is present at birth. People with this condition are treated in childhood, but some are never cured. They have to spend the rest of their lives doing everything they can to promote their heart health.

Recently, research presented at the 12th Annual Spring Meeting on Cardiovascular Nursing showed that if people with this disease have poor dental health, they are putting their heart at risk of further damage. Scientists found that while these patients tend to engage in less risky behaviors, such as drinking and drugs, they may be ignoring their oral care, much to their detriment.

The researchers said poor dental health can put individuals with congential heart disease at a higher likelihood of developing endocarditis, a condition that causes inflammation in the lining of the walls of the heart.

"The fact that adolescents with congenital heart disease have better health behavior overall than the general population is understandable given the amount of input they have had from healthcare professionals over their lives. But we need to do more to understand why their dental hygiene is not as good as expected," stated study authors.

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