A Answers (4)
American Heart Association answeredNot all cases can be prevented. That’s because we don’t always know when bacteria has entered the bloodstream. For patients whose heart conditions put them at the highest level of risk for developing infective endocarditis, the American Heart Association recommends antibiotics before certain dental procedures. However, for most patients, antibiotics are not recommended. The American Heart Association has created an endocarditis wallet card in both English and Spanish. People who have been told that they need to take antibiotics should carry it. You can get it from your doctor or from the AHA Web site, americanheart.org. Show the card to your dentist or physician. It will help them take the precautions necessary to protect your health. You can also take steps to reduce your risk. For example, it’s important to brush and floss daily and visit the dentist regularly. This will reduce the chance of a bacteremia.
Johns Hopkins Medicine answered
Endocarditis usually develops when bacteria flows through the bloodstream from another part of the body and lodges in the heart, causing an infection in the lining of the heart and damage to the heart valves.
Certain procedures that cause significant bleeding can carry a greater risk of endocarditis. If you've recently undergone any type of invasive treatment, including dental surgery, and you experience any of the symptoms of endocarditis, you should contact your doctor.
People with a high risk factor, predisposition for heart conditions or a history of endocarditis can take preventative antibiotics before a dental or medical/surgical procedure.
Following the guidelines for good oral health, such as brushing and flossing regularly, can also reduce risk.
If you have a congenital heart defect, heart murmur or other heart valve condition, you should alert your dentist or your physician before you are treated.
Since the disease is most common in people who already have damaged heart valves, congenital heart defects, or artificial heart valves, it is particularly important that they follow the American Heart Association's guidelines for preventive antibiotic treatment, especially before and after any procedures that may permit bacteria to enter the bloodstream. This includes surgery and routine dental work, such as oral surgery or the cleaning of teeth and gums. Anyone who has had rheumatic fever or valvular disease, or has a congenital heart defect or an artificial heart valve, should be attuned to the warning signs of endocarditis and see a doctor promptly should they appear.
To prevent endocarditis (an infection of one or more of your heart valves or the heart’s inner lining), it is very important that you maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly and visiting the dentist on a consistent basis. Patients with aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve opening) or who have had a valve replacement may be asked to take antibiotics before having dental or certain medical procedures performed. If you are considered at risk for developing infective endocarditis, you can ask your health care provider for an American Heart Association wallet card. This will help you remember to tell other health care providers or dentists about your heart condition and its proper treatment.