Can High Blood Pressure Affect Teeth?

teeth and blood pressure - woman checking her blood pressure

Can High Blood Pressure Affect Teeth?

Hypertension can put you at higher risk of certain dental issues, such as dry mouth and gum disease. However, high blood pressure itself does not impact your oral health. Rather, it’s the medication you take to control it that can affect your teeth and gums. So if you have high blood pressure, you might also notice gum pain or tooth pain—here’s why

How Blood Pressure Medication Affects Your Teeth and Gums

Enlarges Your Gums

Some calcium channel blockers used to treat high blood pressure have been known to cause gingival hyperplasia as a side effect, which can lead to painful gums. Gingival hyperplasia is when the gum tissue surrounding the teeth grows abnormally and becomes enlarged. Without treatment, the gum tissue could eventually grow so much that it completely covers your teeth. 

Gum overgrowth makes it difficult to eliminate plaque and bacteria with regular brushing and flossing. As plaque builds up beneath the overgrown gum line, your mouth becomes more vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease. Gingival hyperplasia from blood pressure medication can also make your teeth hurt, and cause difficulty chewing. 

Good oral hygiene can help reduce your risk of gingival hyperplasia. But if you notice that your gums seem enlarged, consult your dentist as soon as possible about your treatment options. 

Causes Dry Mouth

Hundreds of medications for various medical conditions cause dry mouth as a side effect. Some of the alpha and beta blockers used to treat hypertension and high blood pressure are among these medications. 

People with dry mouth can’t produce enough saliva to sufficiently get rid of food particles and bacteria. The dry environment becomes a breeding ground for bacteria that can cause extensive damage to your teeth before you get the chance to brush and floss. The bacteria also attack your gums, causing inflammation that eventually leads to gum disease.

If you suffer from dry mouth, you may need to schedule professional teeth cleanings more frequently than twice a year in order to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

The Link Between High Blood Pressure and Gum Disease 

What Is Gum Disease?

When bacteria attack and inflame the gums over time, it can cause an infection called periodontitis, aka gum disease. It begins as gingivitis, which is silent and painless just like high blood pressure. Gingivitis causes tender, swollen gums that bleed easily. Luckily, this first stage of gum disease is reversible if it’s treated soon enough. 

But when gum disease goes untreated, it progresses into periodontitis, then advanced periodontitis. These advanced stages of gum disease cause irreversible and painful damage, such as receding gums, bone loss, and tooth loss. In fact, gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss, according to the CDC. 

The best way to prevent gum disease is by brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist for cleanings every six months.  

Gum Disease and High Blood Pressure

A recent study has shown that advanced gum disease is linked to high blood pressure in adults who are otherwise healthy. This study found that people with gum disease were twice as likely to have high blood pressure. 

Although the exact link between these two conditions is unclear, researchers found that the bacteria that damage the gums can also trigger inflammatory responses that result in higher blood pressure. 

Gum disease and high blood pressure both make each other worse. For example, blood pressure medications can cause side effects that increase your risk of gum disease. According to another study, gum disease has also been shown to worsen blood pressure and interfere with its treatment. 

Gum Disease Treatment in Sun Lakes, Arizona

If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you may also have undiagnosed gum disease. This condition is irreversible in its later stages, and requires immediate intervention to keep the symptoms under control. 

Dr. Saba in Sun Lakes can help you preserve your beautiful smile with a wide range of professional services that prevent and treat gum disease. Give us a call at 480-895-2111 today to schedule an appointment for an examination. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (9/7/2022). Photo by cottonbro on Pexels