Parents of children with congenital heart disease (CHD) seem to underestimate the importance of optimized oral health. The low priority for a good oral hygiene and a healthy diet can be a risk factor for odontogenic bacteremia and infective endocarditis. The aim of this study was the evaluation of the disease awareness and dental knowledge of the parents using a questionnaire. Therefore, parents from 107 children with CHD and a healthy control group (HCG) consisting of 101 children both aged 2 to 6 years were asked to complete a questionnaire containing items about the general health, oral hygiene behavior, preventive measures, dental visits and intake of potential drinks and cariogenic nutrition of their child. The results of the present study show that the CHD group had a poorer oral health behavior than the HCG. Healthy children brushed their teeth significantly more often (65.4%) than the CHD children (45.1%). Only 75% of CHD children used fluorides in their daily life in comparison to 86.6% of the healthy children, 8.7% of their parents neglected completely fluoride supplementation. Of all CHD children 23.1% in comparison to 8.1% of the controls had never visited a dentist before. Furthermore, the daily consumption of cariogenic food and drinks was generally higher in the CHD group. These findings demonstrate a need for improvement in parental knowledge of the efficiency of different measures to improve dental health. This important oral health for CHD children from the early stage of life is obvious, especially regarding their risk for odontogenic bacteria and infective endocarditis.
Keywords: congenital heart disease; dental care; infective endocarditis; oral health; oral prevention; parents; questionnaire.