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What is endocarditis?

Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of the heart that can place the lives of those who have it in serious danger. Recent studies show that patients affected by periodontitis are more likely to come down with this disease. The bacteria found in the periodontal pockets can reach the blood stream, giving rise to a bacteraemia (bacteria in the blood) capable of reaching the heart.

In the case of dental treatments, the lesions they leave behind can serve as a facilitated point of entry for bacteria, allowing them to enter the blood stream.


Recent studies on the relation between periodontitis and endocarditis

According to a study by the American Heart Association, the incidence and intensity of bacteraemia originating from the oral cavity are directly proportionate to the level of inflammation and infection in the mouth. In realty, transitory bacteraemia is a common occurrence following manipulation of the gingival tissues. Even the daily brushing of the teeth, for example, set in motion a transitory bacteraemia that our organism normally keeps in check without any problem. Depending on what dental treatment is performed, the percentage of bacteraemia can vary significantly:

•    tooth extraction (from 10% to 100%)

•    periodontal surgery (from 36% to 88%)

•    root scaling and planing (from 8% to 80%)

•    cleaning of the teeth (up to 40%)

•    insertion of rubber dam and positioning of matrix band/wedge (9%-32%)

•    endodontic procedures (up to 20%)

Furthermore, it is estimated that 8% of all cases of infective endocarditis are associated with the presence of periodontal disease that has not been treated and, therefore, persists.

For that matter, an Oxford University study points out that, following an initial episode of bacterial endocarditis, relapses can occur in almost 10% of the patients affected by periodontitis, showing just how dangerous the problem is.

This is why the Freesmile Dental Centre does everything in its power to keep you from having to risk your life, providing the maximum protection for your teeth.

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