While you might consider that improper brushing and flossing can only put your teeth and gums at risk, many studies in recent years have revealed that people with poor oral health are at a much higher risk of developing several other chronic, long-term health disorders. Experts advocate that maintaining good oral health helps check dental problems that are responsible for elevating your blood pressure level.
Therefore, it’s important to understand the link between dental problems and high blood pressure, and how your dentist can help you in detecting potential indications of high blood pressure.
Dental Problems and High Blood Pressure
According to the American Heart Association, hypertension, or high blood pressure, impacts over 80 million American adults. Usually known as “the silent killer,” hypertension can damage the kidneys and heart arteries and can lead to stroke.
Research published in the Journal of Periodontology in 2015 proposes that the list of health issues triggered by poor oral health have increased over the years. Researchers indicated that poor oral hygiene practices could raise an individual’s risk of hypertension or high blood pressure. Scientists have also determined that dental problems can even get in the way of your high blood pressure management. Furthermore, the study puts forward that hypertension and gum disease might be related due to the rise in blood pressure and inflammation.
A Major Discovery
The study mentioned above examined the data collected from more than 19,000 individuals who took part in the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Scientists assessed how often the participants brushed on a regular basis and how frequently they brushed with the dentist-recommended toothbrushes, used mouthwashes, and flossed their teeth.
Hypertension, usually referred to as ‘high blood pressure,’ was detected in almost 6,000 participants and distinguished by a person’s use of an antihypertensive drug or an average blood pressure beyond 140/90 mmHg. For participants with and without periodontal disease, regular tooth brushing was seen to complement a reduced incidence of hypertension. In general, research participants who suffered from dental problems such as gum disease were potentially more vulnerable to high blood pressure.
Sound Oral Hygiene Is the Key
While further research on the correlation between dental health and blood pressure is required, study findings continue to back the notion that what impacts an individual’s mouth can impact their body and vice versa. Scientists concluded that oral hygiene should be considered an individual risk factor for high blood pressure. They also recommend observing good gum health habits that can help check and control the problems like periodontal disease.
The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) promotes brushing twice a day and flossing regularly, and seeking annual comprehensive periodontal assessments to avoid periodontal disease, which is curable and mostly reversible with suitable and timely care from a periodontist.
How Your Dentist Can Help You
Considering the research outcomes, the scientists inform that patients with periodontal disease may need frequent blood pressure monitoring, while those diagnosed with high blood pressure, or continuously elevated blood pressure, might gain from a referral to a dentist.
Although dentists fix your teeth and don’t treat high blood pressure, they do their best to identify general diseases and refer you to a proper healthcare professional for right management if required. They generally measure your blood pressure on your dental visit as an additional check on your health.
Therefore, you should make sure to visit your dentist for a complete dental exam and cleaning twice a year. It is always better to spot things before they turn problematic, be it gum disease or high blood pressure.
Dr. Steffany Mohan is the Owner of Plaza Dental Group and is a leading dentist in Des Moines, Iowa. Dr. Mohan is an expert in implant, family and cosmetic dentistry, is Invisalign certified and has gained a reputation of excellence in the dentistry community. Plaza Dental Group has built a reputation for excellence and its close doctor-patient relationships, which has made them one of the premier offices of Iowa dentists