If you have high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), you need to be careful; if this condition isn’t controlled, it could damage your blood vessels and various organs throughout your body. Eventually, you could be at risk for life-threatening heart attacks, aneurysms, or even heart failure. Luckily, there are ways to keep your blood pressure under control – but you might be surprised to know that unhealthy gums could make it much harder to do so! Read on to learn about the connection between gum disease and hypertension.
What Does Gum Disease Have to Do with Blood Pressure?
In 2018, a survey published in Hypertension examined the medical and dental records of over 300 patients (adults aged 30 or older) who had high blood pressure and at least one natural tooth. Roughly half of those examined had moderate to severe gum disease. What was significant is that the survey found that the medications prescribed for high blood pressure tended to be less effective on those who also had gum disease; in fact, such patients were 20% less likely to have successfully lowered their blood pressure to a healthy range.
Other studies have found that patients with gum disease were also likely to have higher blood pressure. This could be partially due to the fact that when the gums are infected, oral bacteria is allowed to spread to other parts of the body and cause inflammation, which in turn damages the cardiovascular system. Also, gum disease and high blood pressure share many similar risk factors, such as smoking and obesity.
Can Treating Gum Disease Lower Your Blood Pressure?
It’s not clear that treating gum disease could directly lower your blood pressure. However, it is true that healthy gums are associated with better health throughout the rest of your body. It’s possible that treating gum disease could ultimately make it easier to get high blood pressure under control.
How Can Gum Disease Be Treated?
If you notice the warning signs of gum disease (swollen gums, bad breath, receding gums, sensitive teeth, bleeding while brushing), you should take steps to reverse it immediately. The earliest form of the disease, gingivitis, is relatively easy to treat with a dental cleaning and improved oral hygiene. However, a more advanced condition typically requires periodontal therapy. Your dentist can perform a deep cleaning (also known as scaling and root planing) to remove the bacteria above and below the gum line. Sometimes antibiotics are prescribed to help protect against reinfection.
Gum disease becomes more and more severe when left alone, so don’t make the mistake of ignoring it in the hopes that it will eventually go away. Start working with your dentist in Ponte Vedra Beach as soon as possible to restore your oral health; it could be the decision that lets you successfully fight back against high blood pressure – and that might ultimately save your life!
About Ponte Vedra Complete Dentistry
Here at Ponte Vedra Complete Dentistry, our two expert dentists follow a philosophy of “complete dentistry”; this approach means examining your entire mouth (not just your teeth) to find the true cause of oral health issues. Our practice uses modern technology – such as soft tissue lasers – to provide effective, comfortable periodontal therapy. To schedule a gum disease treatment, visit our website or call (904) 285-7711.