If you have gum disease, you may think it’s confined to your mouth. After all, how could a dental problem harm the rest of your body? The reality, though, is more complex. It turns out that gum disease and high blood pressure are linked; having the former raises your risk of the latter. Just let your Raleigh dentist explain to learn how that’s possible. Here’s a summary of the link between gum disease and high blood pressure, its cause, and tips on preventing both conditions.
Gum Disease & High Blood Pressure
While seemingly unrelated, gum disease and high blood pressure share a connection. Infected gums are strongly associated with blood pushing on blood vessel walls at a high rate.
This odd link was discovered through modern research. For example, 2014 research in Current Cardiology Reviews found that gum disease raises a patient’s odds of having high blood pressure. Similarly, a study published in the 2021 issue of Hypertension came to the same conclusion. Namely, a gum disease diagnosis was associated with higher odds of hypertension.
What Explains the Link?
Ultimately, the link seems to come down to common causes. The same forces that trigger gum disease can also trigger hypertension.
You see, harmful mouth bacteria don’t stay put. They inevitably travel through the bloodstream and infect other body parts. Left unchecked, they’ll inflame not only your gums but also your heart valves and blood vessels. The result is an infection that starts in your gums but goes to the rest of your body.
How to Protect Your Gums
Of course, you can take steps to prevent gum disease. All you need to do is follow the right practices! In particular, consider those listed below:
- Maintain Good Oral Hygiene – Brushing twice daily and flossing once daily makes you less likely to get gum disease or hypertension.
- Avoid Tobacco & Alcohol – Smoking tobacco tends to cause gum disease, as does alcohol. By avoiding both products, your gums and heart will be healthier.
- See Your Dentist Often: With twice-yearly dental checkups and cleanings, you’ll be better protected from harmful oral bacteria. That means your teeth, gums, and heart will stay safe.
So long as you’re careful, you won’t experience the link between gum disease and high blood pressure. Therefore, remember to use the tips above and keep your mouth healthy!
About the Author
Dr. Christine Laster is an excellent dentist based in Raleigh, NC, having earned her doctorate from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry. She specializes in comprehensive dentistry, especially preventive, cosmetic, and restorative services. At the same time, she and her team are excellent at dental emergency care for at-risk patients. Dr. Laster currently practices at Rensch & Laster and can be reached at her website or by phone at (919)-787-0355.