Plenty of people don’t realize that your mouth can actually provide some pretty intriguing insights about your overall health. For example, if a dentist notices that you have ulcers in your mouth, that could be an indication of an underlying condition (although, this is not always the case). Likewise, conditions such as high blood pressure may also present with co-morbid diseases in the mouth, such as gum disease (again, this is not always the case). In fact, high blood pressure and oral health have been linked in a multitude of studies- more recently, this one published by the American Heart Association.
What is High Blood Pressure and How Can I Prevent It?
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a condition where the force of blood flow within the blood vessels is dangerously and consistently high. One of the main concerns of patients with high blood pressure is that there are usually no symptoms at all—it is known as a “silent killer.” Left untreated, hypertension can cause significant damage to your entire circulatory system putting you at a high risk for stroke, heart attack and more.
Hypertension is a very common condition that is treatable with lifestyle and diet changes as well as medication. It is also preventable if you are aware of your habits and stress levels! Here are some tips for preventing the “silent killer”:
1. Eat a low sodium diet
2. Manage stress levels with exercise, deep breath exercises, and/or learning positive coping skills
3. Limit alcohol
4. QUIT smoking!
5. Visit your doctor for an annual wellness check up
How Exactly Does Oral Health Impact High Blood Pressure?
According to The American Heart Association, people with gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) may have more trouble controlling their blood pressure than those that do not have periodontal disease (AHA, 2018). The reason for this is likely due to the link between gum health and cardiovascular disease—that the bacteria involved in gum disease travels throughout the body, triggering inflammation and infection within the heart and blood vessels. (The University of Pennsylvania, 2019)
So What Do I Do With All of This Information?
Regardless of whether or not you suffer from periodontal disease and/or high blood pressure, both conditions are serious and substantially impact your health! For more information regarding oral health, check out our other blog posts here.