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The Link Between Gum Disease and Blood Pressure

The mouth can be a window into the overall health of the human body. It’s an entry point for bacteria and can signify when underlying conditions in the body may be posing health issues that are difficult to detect.

A study conducted by Current Cardiovascular Reviews asserts that gum disease should be considered a risk to cardiovascular health due to connections between gum disease and high blood pressure. Cardiovascular diseases account for the largest number of deaths in the United States. Explore the link between gum disease and high blood pressure and steps you can take to prevent both.

What Is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, occurs when blood pushes on the blood vessel walls at an abnormally high rate. Often referred to as a “silent killer,” high blood pressure can be challenging to detect. Blood pressure will fluctuate throughout the day, but high blood pressure can lead to serious health issues if left untreated. High blood pressure can put you at greater risk for other conditions such as:

  • Heart Failure
  • Stroke
  • Vision Loss
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Kidney Disease
  • Pregnancy Complications

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

Lack of a healthy diet and exercise can increase your chances of developing high blood pressure. It is important to avoid diets high in fat content, salt, and cholesterol. Other common hypertension risk factors include:

  • High Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Hormone Imbalance
  • Kidney
  • Smoking and Tobacco Products

How is High Blood Pressure Linked to Gum Disease?

Gum disease (periodontal disease) and high blood pressure share many common risk factors. Bacterial infections in the mouth can travel through the bloodstream and infect other parts of the body. Bacteria related to gum disease can lead to inflammation of the heart valves and blood vessels, leading to hypertension and other conditions linked to heart disease.

How Can I Prevent Gum Disease and High Blood Pressure?

Excellent dental hygiene is a great way to prevent gum disease and high blood pressure. Many routine checkups to a dental professional will include a high blood pressure screening. Other simple measures for preventing hypertension and gum disease include:

  • Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day
  • Practicing daily interdental cleaning
  • Visiting a dental professional regularly
  • Developing a healthy diet rich in fiber and protein
  • Avoiding smoking and tobacco
  • Staying physically active
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Getting plenty of sleep

Gum disease cannot be cured, but it can be managed. A healthy diet, oral care routine, and regular exercise are the best defense for preventing gum disease and high blood pressure. If you think you may be at risk for high blood pressure, schedule an appointment with a medical or dental professional to address it.

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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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