If you have high blood pressure or heart disease, seeing your dentist is just as important as seeing your doctor.
Be sure to tell your dentist if you have these heart conditions:
Hypertension or high blood pressure:
Drugs that lower your blood pressure can change how you taste food or cause dry mouth, which can contribute to dental disease. Calcium channel blockers used to treat high blood pressure can cause swelling of the gums around the teeth. These drugs can also make it difficult for you to chew. If you have these symptoms, see your dentist for regular cleanings. You also may need a gingivectomy, surgery to remove the extra gum tissue.
Heart attack or stroke:
If you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, let your dentist know before undergoing any treatment. Blood-thinning drugs (anticoagulants) could contribute to heavy bleeding during certain oral surgery procedures. Strokes may also inhibit your ability to create saliva, contributing to dry mouth. Your dentist may be able to give you artificial saliva to help you maintain good oral hygiene.
Keeping your blood pressure under control will help your heart stay healthy. Your teeth and gums will also benefit.
Lifestyle tips to lower your blood pressure:
- Regular exercise: It’s a great way to strengthen your heart. If you’re on blood pressure medicine, increasing your exercise routine may allow you to get off it. Exercise can also prevent the need for high blood pressure medication.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking increases your risk of heart disease. Additionally, every time you smoke, you experience a temporary increase in blood pressure.
- Eat healthy: Fruits, vegetables, whole wheat, and low sodium foods are good for your heart health.
- Eating more fresh foods over frozen or processed meals is healthier for a variety of reasons. It provides you with more nutrients and vitamins, which support oral and overall health. Frozen foods are packed with salt to preserve them – a frozen pizza can have as much as 700 mg of sodium!
- Watch your weight: A healthy diet and regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight.
Your whole body (including your mouth) will be thankful for your new, healthier routines. Combining exercise with healthy meals is the best way to achieve and maintain wellness each and every day. Learn more about the link between gum disease and heart disease.
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*Updated May 2019