There has been ongoing debate in the medical field about whether gum disease and heart disease are related.
The American Heart Association states that at this time, there appears to be no direct link between oral health and heart disease, though a link might be found in the future.
However, the American Dental Association states that both share common risk factors. Meaning, problems with your oral health could be a sign of risk factors that could lead to heart disease or high blood pressure, and also the other way around.
At this time there may not be an exact link between oral health and heart health, but there are some connections between your gums and your blood pressure.
Blood Pressure Medications
The medications you take to control your blood pressure can affect your gums directly.
Medications for high blood pressure, such as Calcium Channel Blockers, can make your gums swell and grow. This overgrowth can cause pain, sensitivity or difficulty chewing and talking. In some cases, the amount of overgrowth can become a serious problem. Surgery may be needed to remove this excess gum overgrowth.
High blood pressure medications may also cause your gums to bleed. This is not generally considered a serious condition, unless you are taking blood thinners such as Warfarin.
Make sure your dentist is aware of any blood pressure medications you are on, and any side effects you may be experiencing. Your dentist may increase the number of your routine check-ups as a precaution.
Blood Pressure and Dental Visits
Having high blood pressure can also indirectly affect your oral health. Some medications for high blood pressure can make you light-headed. You may have problems with fainting when going from lying down to sitting up.
If you’re on blood pressure medications, this could be an issue for you at the dentist’s office. For most dental procedures, you’re lying almost flat on your back. When the dentist is done and you are asked to sit up, you may feel faint or actually lose consciousness as you rise.
Naturally, this can make it difficult or uncomfortable for you when you need to go to the dentist. You may want to cancel your appointments, or not go at all. But skipping appointments can jeopardize your oral health.
There are steps your dentist can take to ensure your comfort and safety. Your dentist may take your blood pressure several times during a routine visit to have a baseline reading. With this information, your dentist can create a guideline of your needs during subsequent visits, and help you to feel more comfortable for important dental procedures you may need to have.
Oral and Physical Health
Your gums can be a guide for your doctor to determine if you have any underlying health problems. Likewise, whether your blood pressure is high or low can be signs to your dentist that there may be a possible issue with your teeth or gums.
If your doctor diagnoses you with high blood pressure, your dentist may want to examine your gums for Gingivitis or Periodontal disease. If you have swollen, red and bleeding gums, your doctor may want to check your blood pressure to see whether it may be too high or too low. These can be a signs of heart disease, or symptoms of other serious disorders.
Annual physical exams and bi-annual dental exams can go hand-in-hand in keeping you in optimum health. Although, with today’s technology, information is easily shared between medical offices, it’s important for you to relay information to both your dentist and doctor if you have been diagnosed with a disorder or disease such as high blood pressure.
Getting Professional Care
Keeping yourself and your family healthy is of the utmost importance. Keeping appointments for regular check-ups, both dental and physical, can help to either diagnose or ward off any problems that may become serious without the proper care.
Following a healthy lifestyle by taking care of your oral and physical health will also go far in keeping everyone in tip-top shape.
Knowing the simple signs both in your mouth and your body that can be symptoms of more serious issues can help in keeping your family healthy. If you or anyone in your family is experiencing swollen, red or bleeding gums, it’s important to have them checked out by your dentist, especially if there is also an issue with blood pressure.
A Professional dental office, such as Aesthetic Family Dentistry in Arizona, can evaluate and diagnose any problems with your gums. Our trained staff understands the unique requirement of patients with high blood pressure, especially those that also have gum disease.
For more information about the connection between your gums and your blood pressure contact Aesthetic Family Dentistry. We can assist you with any questions, evaluate and diagnose any problems, and offer treatment plans to fit you and your family’s needs.