Why Transplant Patients Should Prioritize Oral Healthcare

Undergoing an organ transplant can be both exhilarating and daunting, and the success of the surgery is crucial for those in need. Due to advancements in surgical techniques and immunosuppressive therapies, transplant surgeries have achieved higher success rates. However, it’s important to be aware of how dental care, or the lack thereof, can impact the overall health of transplant patients. Research has shown a high prevalence of oral diseases among transplant recipients. However, receiving dental care in addition to transplants is often an overlooked preventative measure, despite the potential risks that oral disease can pose to transplant surgeries. In this article, we aim to highlight the importance of prioritizing oral health for transplant patients and provide ways to ensure better dental health for everyone. 

Why Transplant Patients Should Prioritize Oral Healthcare

It’s crucial to keep your mouth healthy and clean, as it can help you maintain a more positive outlook for your surgery. Keeping your mouth healthy can prevent bacteria from developing and causing immune system and inflammatory reactions when attempting to heal from transplant surgery. One such risk, although rare, that can occur after transplant surgery is endocarditis, an infection of the heart valve that occurs after an organ transplant. 

While surgeons and hospitals will have precautions in place to protect against these reactions, maintaining your health, including your oral health, is crucial for maintaining a higher success for your surgery. Although these practices are standardized as part of scheduled transplant surgeries, dental evaluations can help protect you from oral diseases that can cause poor transplant outcomes. 

If you’re looking for ways to minimize the risks of an upcoming transplant surgery, then we highly recommend the following tips to help you prioritize your oral health: 

  • Checkups and Cleanings: It’s essential to receive dental cleanings and oral exams at least twice a year to maintain your oral health, and scheduling an appointment with your dentist beforehand can help you ensure that any diseases or conditions you face can be managed and treated. 
  • Addressing Dental Issues: If your dentist identifies any dental problems, such as gum disease or tooth decay, then you should receive the necessary treatments before your transplant surgery to ensure good oral health beforehand. 
  • Practice Good Oral Hygiene: Make sure to brush and floss your teeth twice daily and care for your oral health as part of a regular routine to protect yourself from diseases and bacteria. 
  • Use Antibacterial Mouthwash: Adding mouthwash to your oral health routine can help you add additional protection against bacteria before your scheduled transplant surgery. 

Visit Southhill Comprehensive Dentistry Today For an Appointment

Following these tips can help you maintain a more positive outlook for your surgery, as it can help minimize complications related to immunosuppressive therapies and other recovery methods provided by your healthcare team. If you would like to schedule a dental checkup appointment, our Southhill Comprehensive Dentistry team can support you. Schedule an appointment at our location in Spokane, WA, by calling (509) 747-8779 to speak with our team today. 

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