Poor Oral Health And Your Blood Pressure
Periodontal disease increasingly shown to contribute to other medical problems.
Around one in three adults in the UK have been diagnosed with having high blood pressure and it is estimated that there are also somewhere in the region of 5 million people who have probably not yet been diagnosed. Although high blood pressure need not necessarily indicate any immediate danger, it can eventually cause arteries to rupture as they weaken with age, sometimes leading to strokes or a heart attack.
The modern lifestyle of fast food, stress and other factors such as alcohol and smoking are widely believed to be amongst the most common causes of it.
In most cases, high blood pressure can be effectively regulated with medication. This should not be seen as a ‘stand alone’ treatment though, and dietary change and increased exercise are often recommended too.
A recent study has found that poor oral health can also be a factor in high blood pressure (hypertension) and that patients who have good overall oral health tend to respond better to any treatment that is given.
One of the biggest oral health problems that can affect the outcome of treatment for this common problem is periodontitis. We have touched before on the harm that this can do, damaging the bone in the jaw and being one of the most common reasons for tooth loss amongst adults. Research has shown that not only do people that are free of periodontitis tend to have lower blood pressure, but those that do have high blood pressure, but are periodontitis free, also respond much better to any medication that may be prescribed to lower it.
The report recommends that any patient who does have gum disease, arranges with their GP to have more frequent checks on their blood pressure. This is especially the case for those who are at a higher risk of gum disease, such as diabetics, who may have less control over it than other patients. Conversely, anyone who is diagnosed with having high blood pressure, would benefit from seeing a dentist more regularly to monitor their gums. We would also add that you should also consider seeing our Greenwich dental hygienist so that your teeth and gums can be regularly cleaned professionally.
We don’t necessarily advise that you rush out to buy a blood pressure monitor as, whilst potentially useful, these are often not as accurate as when taken by your GP. If you are in your middle age especially, it is a good idea to see not only the dentist on a regular basis, but your GP too. They will be happy to monitor your blood pressure and other age related health problems over a period of time.
Other periodontitis medical links
High blood pressure is not the only illness that periodontal diseases have been associated with when research has been carried out. Others include:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Premature birth and low birth weight
As you can see from the list above, making sure that you keep not only your teeth clean, but your gums too, could have a major impact on your health and life in general. Whilst some of these illnesses may not be fatal, they can, in cases like asthma and arthritis, cause significant problems in your daily life.
Helping you to stay healthy
Although dentists like the Confidental Clinic are largely thought to just look after your teeth; as you can see from the list, the results of our care is potentially much more wide ranging than that. It really is not difficult to keep your gums clean and healthy, especially if there are no medical problems that may put you into the higher risk category. Much of the care of your gums begins at home, with regular brushing and flossing of your teeth and gums. Even here though, seeing the hygienist to learn the best way to both brush and floss can mean that you do so more effectively, helping you to improve your routine daily care.
Regular scale and polishes are advised to remove the tartar from your teeth and gum line, as tartar creates a rough surface on your teeth which makes it easier for bacteria to attach to.
Of course, you should also see one of our Greenwich dental team every six months for a thorough check up. Not only do we examine your teeth and gums, but other soft tissues of the mouth too. As well as specifics like oral cancer, any general oral problems can be an indicator of your overall health and may require further investigation.
Keeping your mouth healthy is important and should not be ignored. Appointments at the Confidental Clinic in Greeenwich can be made by calling us on 020 8858 1422.