You probably already know that seeing the dentist regularly is essential, but those twice-a-year checkups may be even more important than you previously thought. Why? Well, your dentist may be the first to notice that you have hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.
What Is Hypertension?
High blood pressure is a relatively common condition caused by a high level of force of your blood against your arterial walls. When high blood pressure is chronic, it can cause serious health issues, including heart disease and stroke.
Your blood pressure is the amount of blood that your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to the flow of your blood through your arteries. If your arteries are narrow due to cholesterol buildup, your heart has to pump more blood, which translates to higher blood pressure for you.
The Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
The signs and symptoms of high blood pressure include:
- Severe headache
- Vision problems
- Extreme fatigue
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing and wheezing
- Rapid heartbeat
- Blood in the urine
- Pounding in the ears, chest or head
- Flushing of the face
- Chest pain
- Changes in vision
Additionally, there are changes in the mouth that indicate high blood pressure. Specifically, we’re talking about the presence of gum disease. Some research studies have shown that the presence of gum disease increases the risk of developing high blood pressure by as much as 25 percent.
Gum disease is caused by bacterial takeover of the gum tissue. This can result in pain, discomfort when brushing and eating, and redness and swelling of the gums. Severe cases of gum disease, called advanced periodontal disease, can cause loose teeth, bad breath and an increased risk of chronic illness such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
So, when you’re at the dentist, and you have the signs of the condition, your dentist notices and can alert you to the fact you have a potentially dangerous health condition and need to see your doctor.
How to Reduce the Risk of Developing Gum Disease
The best way to reduce the chance of developing gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene habits, including brushing and flossing. We recommend brushing at least twice per day and flossing at least once per day. We also recommend that you avoid tobacco and tobacco products. While in some cases, high blood pressure happens as a result of age, genetics or other external factors, you can reduce your risk by working to keep your mouth healthy.
Want to learn more about the implications of gum disease on your health? Call us now at (469)264-8921.