The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates about 30 percent of us have high blood pressure, yet fewer than half have it under control with diet, exercise and medications.
Poor oral hygiene can also increase your risk of hypertension.
Many people think dentists are only interested in teeth and gums. The idea of a dentist asking about blood pressure and medical history may surprise some.
Struggling to bring your high blood pressure under control, even with the help of medications? The state of your mouth can say a lot about your general health.
“There is a strong association between hypertension and gum disease in the sense that some people who have good oral health have a lower blood pressure than those who do not have good oral health. You will see that there blood pressure will be higher in regards to that,” said dental specialist Dr. Delaine Farias.
Patients with hypertension and inflamed gums are 20 percent less likely to have their blood pressure in a healthy range.
“Signs of gum disease would be puffy gums, bleeding gums, gum tissue receding and your roots getting exposed, pain, and even loosening of the teeth can be a result of that,” Farias said. “And even pus can be a result of a sign of gum disease and that’s a risk factor.”
An estimated 75 million Americans, have high blood pressure, increasing the risk of other serious health problems.
“We are seeing a strong association between several metabolic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease which is related to hypertension which is a big problem that it’s the leading cause of cardiovascular disease; blood vessel disease which can result in heart attacks, and strokes,” Farias said. “There is lot to be said about a healthy mouth.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 54 percent have their high blood pressure under control from medication, exercise, diet or a combination.
“It’s an infectious disease that actually gets into your blood stream from the bacteria entering into that and there is an inflammatory response,” Farias said. “That is the hypothesis as to why all this is happening to the body.”
When it comes to prevention, brushing twice a day and flossing your teeth could prevent you from developing high blood pressure or other health issues.
People with healthier gums were found to have lower blood pressure and responded better to BP-lowering medications, compared with individuals who have periodontitis-serious gum infection that damages gums and can destroy the jawbone.
According to a recent study, people with high blood pressure taking medication for their condition are more likely to benefit from the therapy if they have good oral health. The findings of the study have been published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
For the study, the researchers reviewed medical and dental exam records of more than 3,600 people with high blood pressure. The findings revealed that those with healthier gums were found to have lower blood pressure.
They also responded better to blood pressure-lowering medications, compared with individuals who have gum disease, a condition known as periodontitis. Among participants with periodontitis, 20 percent are less likely to reach healthy blood pressure ranges, compared with patients in good oral health.
Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers. The higher number, or systolic pressure, is the force that blood is being pumped by your heart around your body.
The lower number, or diastolic pressure, is how much pressure is in the arteries in between heart beats. Both are measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology recommend those with hypertension stay below 130/80 mmHg.