It is now evident that tooth extraction and other oral surgeries can temporarily but slightly increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Studies have shown that invasive dental procedures, particularly treatment of periodontal disease, can cause inflammation in the body, as it responds to bacteria that enter the bloodstream after surgery. Therefore, it is important for people with heart disease to talk to their dentist about their condition in order to develop a personalized treatment plan that fits their needs. In general, oral procedures, such as cleaning your teeth, can cause bleeding in the mouth and introduce bacteria into the bloodstream and heart.
This can lead to inflammation of the heart tissue or valves when bacteria enter the bloodstream. However, Howard Weitz, MD, director of the division of cardiology at Jefferson Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, has expressed his concern that this new study may discourage people from visiting their dentist due to fear of a heart attack or stroke. The research has revealed that people who underwent invasive dental work had a higher risk of heart attack or stroke in the four weeks after the procedure, but this risk was transient. Saul Pressner, a dentist in private practice in New York City, advises patients not to skip dental visits due to fear of a heart attack or stroke.
In cases where a procedure is essential, it should be performed in a dental office that can monitor your heart health. People with unstable angina should not undergo non-essential dental procedures. After adjusting the numbers to take into account people's ages, researchers found that the risk of a heart attack or stroke in the month after dental surgery was one and a half times higher than the person's normal risk. Some studies have suggested that treating gum disease by killing the oral bacteria that cause it allows the cells that line the walls of blood vessels to work better, reducing the risk of heart attack.
If your dentist suggests stopping taking aspirin or a similar medication before dental surgery, make sure it is essential. Changes in aspirin use could have been the reason for some of the additional heart attacks and strokes seen after invasive procedures such as tooth extraction. After this happens, bacteria build up along blood vessels, causing inflammation, which can make people more vulnerable to heart attacks. But people who are already taking medications to prevent cardiovascular disease, such as aspirin or cholesterol-lowering statins, should continue taking those medications throughout dental treatment if possible. More than half of the heart attacks and strokes seen in the study occurred in women, and 30% in people under 50.
Usually, local anesthetic contains epinephrine which can cause rapid development of heart attack, high blood pressure and angina pectoris. Researchers analyzed data from Medicaid claims which included 1,152 people who had suffered a heart attack or stroke and had also undergone invasive dental treatment. Dentists can also recommend modified brushing techniques, fluoride gels and dental care strategies that can help others maintain good oral hygiene.