Are Hypertension & Oral Health Related?
The most common type of cardiovascular disease is high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Unfortunately, high blood pressure rarely causes symptoms, so you may be unaware that you have it.
What is the relationship between high blood pressure and oral health?
People who are taking hypertension medication are more likely to benefit from it if they also have good oral health. Researchers discovered that people with healthy gums respond better to medication than those with pre-existing gum disease. As a matter of fact, those with gum disease were 20% less likely to have blood pressure within a “healthy” range.
Even though the study is still in its early stages, doctors and researchers agree that the findings support a possible link between inflammatory conditions of the mouth and the heart.
Can my dentist assist me?
Certainly! Because the human body is so interconnected, your dentist may be among the first to notice if something is wrong with your health. Bad breath, mouth sores, and bleeding gums are all symptoms of a more serious problem. While these developments do not always indicate high blood pressure, they may be symptoms of other issues.
Effects of Medication on the mouth:
The majority of antihypertensive medications can cause dry mouth (xerostomia). Furthermore, gingival hyperplasia has been reported in 2% to 83 percent of patients receiving a calcium-channel blocker; the calcium channel blocker most commonly associated with this reaction is nifedipine. It is as simple as addressing the symptom to treat medication-related adverse oral effects (For example, encouraging frequent sips of water in people with medication-related dry mouth) or may necessitate collaboration with the individual’s medical doctor to change treatment. Gingival hyperplasia caused by calcium-channel blocker therapy, for example, can be treated surgically to relieve overgrowth, pain, and bleeding temporarily, but recurrence is likely unless the causative medication is stopped.
The goals of treating hypertensive patients in the oral health care setting are to develop and implement timely preventive strategies that are compatible with the patient’s physical and emotional ability to undergo and respond to dental care; and limitations imposed on the clinical process by disease-specific, procedure-specific, and functional capacity-related risk factors.
Given the available data indicating that the blood pressure-related risks associated with dental procedures appear to be low or very low, once the need for dental intervention is established, the assessment of patient-specific factors and the patient’s functional capacity provides the best information for cardiovascular risk stratification.