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How Unkempt Teeth Can Lead to High Blood Pressure

Posted on 7/7/2020 by Classic Smiles
How Unkempt Teeth Can Lead to High Blood PressureIt's not breaking news that poor oral care can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. In addition, anyone who sees their dentist regularly has been told that an unhealthy mouth can increase their risk of certain diseases like diabetes and heart disease, including high blood pressure (aka hypertension). What many may not know, however, is that heart patients on medication to control their high blood pressure need to pay extra close attention to their oral health.

How Does Oral Health Affect High Blood Pressure?

In this context, the true nature of the correlation between oral health and high blood pressure is unknown. However, those diagnosed with hypertension were more likely to benefit from their medication if they had good oral health. In fact, they were 80% more likely to have their blood pressure fall in the healthy range. This research is consistent with prior studies that linked oral inflammation to blood vessel damage and risk of heart disease.

That being said, keeping your mouth healthy doesn't replace positive lifestyle habits conducive to healthy blood pressure, including a heart-friendly diet, exercise and avoiding smoking. To put the bigger picture of the interconnectedness in perspective, it's worthwhile to note that all of these factors also decrease your chances of developing oral health conditions, such as gum disease.

How We Can Help

As oral care professionals, we are often the first to recognize that you may have something wrong with your overall health. When a patient has certain symptoms like bleeding gums, mouth sores and bad breath, we know these can be signs of more serious conditions. In the case of a patient who's taking blood pressure medication, we know to educate them about the connection between poor oral health and their condition.

If you are taking medication to control your blood pressure, know that your success with it depends on how well you care for your teeth and gums. If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, please contact our office soon to schedule a full exam.
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