Cardiovascular Diseases

What is the link between Oral Disease and Cardiovascular Disease?

Researchers continue to investigate the possible relationship between oral disease and cardiovascular disease. Most people do not know that the health of their mouth is connected to the health of their heart.

At Grandstand Dental Care, we are committed to helping our patients understand how proper dental care can impact cardiac health. Several medical studies have shown that severe oral conditions including periodontal disease, tooth decay and tooth loss result in an increased risk for a heart attack or stroke.

Numerous studies have also shown that bacteria in the mouth that are involved in the development of periodontal disease can move into the bloodstream and cause an elevation in C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation in the blood vessels. These changes can, in turn, increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Therefore, when you receive dental treatment, like non-surgical periodontal therapy, you are caring for your cardiac health and your oral health at once.

If you have Cardiovascular Disease, what should you inform us about?

First, make sure you provide us with a complete medical history and list of the names and dosages of all the drugs you are taking for your cardiovascular condition (as well as any other prescription or non-prescription drugs you might be taking). This will help us determine the best treatment for you, including medication selection for dental procedures.

Second, phone number of your doctor(s) in case we need to speak to him or her about your care.

Third, if you are particularly nervous about undergoing a dental procedure, our doctors and staff are here to help you.  We can provide you with strategies to control dental pain and ease your fears.

Which Cardiovascular Diseases require specific care?

The following list contains information about some of these conditions and the proper precautions you may need.

Some people are at high risk of developing an infection of the inner lining of the heart (bacterial endocarditis). These patients must take special care to practice good oral hygiene every day. Many patients who are at a high risk of developing bacterial endocarditis are advised to take preventive antibiotics before certain procedures. We will contact your doctor if you fall into the high-risk group. All patients scheduled for valve surgery need to have excellent oral hygiene and regular dental care before surgery because unhealthy teeth are one of the sources of bacteria that can cause endocarditis.

Antibiotic prophylaxis may be required for such conditions as  the following:

  • Prosthetic cardiac valve or prosthetic material used in valve repair
  • Previous endocarditis
  • Congenital heart disease only in the following categories:


  • Unrepaired cyanotic congenital heart disease, including those with palliative shunts and conduits
  • Completely repaired congenital heart disease with prosthetic material or device, whether placed by surgery or catheter intervention, during the first six months after the procedure
  • Repaired congenital heart disease with residual defects at the site or adjacent to the site of a prosthetic patch or prosthetic device (which inhibit endothelialization)
  • Cardiac transplantation recipients with cardiac valvular disease
  • Prophylaxis is reasonable because endothelialization of prosthetic material occurs within six months after the procedure.


Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)
It is best to wait a minimum of six months after a heart attack before undergoing any extensive dental treatments. However if emergency treatment is required, we are equipped and trained to support you during the entire process.

It is best to wait a minimum of six months after a heart attack before undergoing any extensive dental treatments. However if emergency treatment is required we are best trained and equipped to support during your treatment.

Anticoagulants and Anti-Platelet Medications
Be sure to tell us if you are taking anticoagulants (blood-thinning drugs) such as Warfarin (Coumadin). These medications could result in excessive bleeding during some oral surgery procedures. Many patients with cardiovascular disease take an antiplatelet medication called clopidogrel (Plavix), particularly patients with drug-eluting stents. Never stop taking Plavix without talking to your cardiologist. Also, if you are on aspirin do not cease the medication.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Some anti-hypertensive medicines can cause a dry mouth or alter your sense of taste. Calcium channel blockers in particular may cause the gum tissue to swell and overgrow, causing problems with chewing. If you do experience gum overgrowth, we will provide you with a preventative program to eliminate these issues. Although rare, gum surgery is sometimes needed. A procedure called a gingivectomy can be done to remove excess gum tissue. During this procedure, excessive gum tissue is removed with a scalpel, electrosurgery unit and laser or diamond dental burs. However, prevention is best.

Patients with angina who are treated with calcium channel blockers might also experience gum overgrowth. In some cases, gum surgery might be required. Patients with stable angina can typically undergo many dental procedures, patients with accelerating or unstable angina will require additional precautions. We may recommend you have further evaluation of your condition by your cardiologist before having such procedures.

Tell your dentist if you are taking anticoagulants (blood-thinning medications). These medications could cause excessive bleeding during some oral surgery procedures. If your stroke has resulted in an inability to produce an adequate amount of saliva, the use of artificial saliva may be required. If your stroke has affected your face, tongue or dominant hand and arm, we can provide you with numerous strategies to help you maintain good oral hygiene.

Dentistry for Cardiac Health: taking care of your gums and your heart

Regardless of the root causes for cardiovascular diseases, at GSDC we believe that good nutrition and good oral hygiene help control bacterial inflammation in the mouth. Additionally, these good habits are essential to help lower risk factors and prevent heart disease. We help our patients understand that choosing a diet high in nutrients, removing oral bacteria meticulously on a daily basis and having regular periodic professional cleanings and dental check-ups will help reduce unnecessary risk factors that can lead to heart disease and stroke. We are dedicated to providing the highest level of dental care for optimum cardiac health.