In the United States alone, there are an estimated 75 million people with high blood pressure, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) While there are many ways to prevent and treat high blood pressure, it becomes more challenging when you also suffer from gum disease.
What is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure is a common condition when the force of blood against your artery walls is high enough that it will eventually cause health problems. The level of blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance of blood flow in your arteries. When persistent high blood pressure occurs, a variety of health problems, such as heart disease, can develop.
High blood pressure is separated into two types: essential hypertension, which typically develops gradually over many years, and secondary hypertension, which is an underlying condition. Secondary hypertension usually appears suddenly and can cause higher blood pressure than primary hypertension.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
Unfortunately, high blood pressure doesn’t have apparent symptoms, which is why it’s often referred to as the “silent killer.” The only way to know if an individual has it is when blood pressure readings are at dangerously high levels (systolic of 180 or higher OR diastolic of 110 or higher). Those levels would quickly lead to a hypertensive crisis and also come with:
- Severe headaches
- Severe anxiety
- Shortness of breath
The Link Between High Blood Pressure and Your Mouth
Gum disease causes consistent inflammation and infection in the gums. This inflammation can spread throughout the rest of the body. When inflammation gets inside blood vessels, it causes the lining of the blood vessels to thicken, decreases blood flow, and puts you at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure. Your mouth is connected to the rest of your body, so it’s safe to say that if you get an infection in your mouth, it will spread throughout your body and bloodstream, as well.
The best treatment option is not treatment at all, but rather prevention. A few tips to help prevent high blood pressure are:
- Eat a healthier diet
- Enjoy regular physical activity
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Manage stress
- Avoid tobacco smoke
- Comply with medication prescriptions
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Attend regular cleanings with your dentist
If you want to take the necessary precautions for high blood pressure prevention, the first step is scheduling a cleaning with your dentist, who is on the front lines of disease prevention. When you combine regular cleanings with healthy lifestyle choices, you’ll take significant strides in not only high blood pressure prevention but many other disease preventions as well.