If you have hypertension, or high blood pressure, you may not have any symptoms at all. Hypertension is often silent, meaning you feel no ill effects from it, however, it can still be damaging your internal organs such as your heart and kidneys. In addition to this, high blood pressure may take a toll on your oral cavity. Here are three ways hypertension can harm your teeth and gums, and what you can do about it:
If you have high blood pressure, you doctor may have prescribed medications known as beta blockers. Not only do these medications lower your blood pressure, they can also help prevent cardiovascular events that are sometimes associated with hypertension.
Beta blockers and other blood pressure medications known as diuretics can lead to a dry mouth. Saliva helps wash away infection-causing bacteria from your mouth, and when your salivary glands fail to produce enough saliva because of your medications, microorganisms can accumulate, raising your risk for gingivitis or periodontitis.
If you have a dry mouth, drink plenty of water throughout the day, and talk to your dentist about recommending an lubricating oral rinse that will help restore moisture inside your mouth.
High blood pressure can also damage your blood vessels and capillaries. While some of the most common blood vessels affected by hypertension are those of your cardiovascular system, oral blood vessels can be affected as well.
When this happens, you may experience bleeding gums, and may notice slow healing after dental procedures such as root canals. If you have high blood pressure, visit your dentist on a regular basis so that he or she can determine if your oral vasculature is healthy.
If you have high blood pressure, you may have a heightened risk for dental caries. This can be related to the combination of medication-related dry mouth, capillary damage, and acid reflux disease.
Medication used in the management of hypertension is commonly associated with acid reflux, and because irritating stomach acid can reach your mouth and make contact with your teeth, you may develop acid erosion. When acid weakens your dental enamel, your teeth may be more susceptible to cavity-causing bacterial invasion.
To reduce your risk, see a dentist, like Webster John B DDS, on a regular basis and consider using a toothpaste that can help strengthen your tooth enamel. If you have hypertension, work with both your dentist and physician to develop an effective treatment plan that will help keep your teeth and gums healthy as well as your overall general health.