Poor Oral Health More Likely for Children With Heart Conditions

Low household income, intellectual or developmental disability linked to poor oral health among those with heart conditions

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THURSDAY, Feb. 10, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Children with heart conditions are more likely to have poor oral health and teeth in fair or poor condition than those without heart conditions, according to research published in the Feb. 11 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Karrie F. Downing, M.P.H., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues compared oral health status and receipt of preventive dental care for children with and without heart conditions (2,928 and 116,826, respectively) using data from the 2016 to 2019 National Survey of Children's Health.

The researchers found that about 83 and 80 percent of those with and without heart conditions, respectively, received dental care in the previous year. Compared with those without heart conditions, those with heart conditions were more likely to have poor oral health (17.2 versus 13.7 percent) and teeth in fair or poor condition (9.9 versus 5.3 percent). There were associations observed for having low household income, an intellectual or developmental disability, and no well-child visit or medical home with poor oral health among those with a heart condition. Among children aged 6 years and older and those with insurance, receipt of preventive dental care was higher.

"These findings could guide strategies, such as parent and patient education and collaboration between pediatricians, dentists, and cardiologists, to improve oral health and care among children with heart conditions, especially those with fewer resources and intellectual or developmental disabilities," the authors write.

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