Did you know that more than a third of Australians experience some form of high blood pressure? Hypertension more commonly known as high blood pressure is a leading factor for many systemic diseases such as heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. It has a higher prevalence in men than women. According to a recent study published in American journal of Hypertension, researchers have found a link between high blood pressure and oral health.
General health links
The link between oral health and general health has been long established and research in the field is increasing. We now know the bacteria that live in the mouth can travel through the bloodstream and cause inflammation and infection in many of the body’s organs. So it’s true that the mouth is a window into the health of the body.
According to researchers there has now been found a strong link between high blood pressure and gum disease. Periodontal disease (gum disease), attributes to 20% of our population with prevalence increasing with age. Poor oral health was found to interfere with blood pressure control in patients experiencing high blood pressure (known as hypertensive patients).
Hypertensive patients that have untreated gum disease had higher systolic blood pressure (2.8 to 7.6mmHg) than patients that were treated (2.3-3 mm Hg). Systolic blood pressure refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries during the contraction of your heart muscle. Patients with gum disease also had poor response to medications used to control blood pressure.
In addition, the use of high blood pressure medications also had oral complications such as dry mouth, change in taste, enlargement of gums and changes in the inner lining of mouth (eg white streaks on cheek).
Take the pressure off
The best ways to control high blood pressure is to: get regular physical activity (at least 30 minutes); focus on nutrition—increasing vegetables and fruits; reduce salt; limit alcohol; cut out smoking; lose weight; and de-stress through proven methods such as meditation.
Researcher Pietropaoli from the Journal of Hypertension also said “Patients with high blood pressure and the clinicians who care for them should be aware that good oral health may be just as important in controlling the condition as are several lifestyle interventions.”
It’s important to tell
Any changes in blood pressure due to anxiety at the dentist or even the use of anaesthetics for dental treatment can have an effect on hypertensive patients. It’s therefore imperative to let your dental practitioner know your full medical history so they can better plan your oral health prevention program.
At Bite we know that it can be difficult to get a health condition under control. That’s why we care and support those with health challenges. We’re here to help you with even the silliest of questions and we never judge, so please do talk to us about any health concern that may be affecting you.