Can Gum Disease Cause High Blood Pressure?
Having high blood pressure can really take a toll on your overall health. People with it are more likely to have a heart attack or a stroke and are even at a higher risk of experiencing vision problems, among other health issues. As we age, monitoring our blood pressure is one of the best ways to protect our wellbeing – and you may be surprised to find out that having gum disease actually increases your risk of developing high blood pressure. Keep reading to find out how it works, and how you can prevent gum disease for better heart health.
The Link Between Gum Disease and High Blood Pressure
Gum disease occurs when bacteria builds up around the base of the teeth and begins to eat away at gum tissue. Recent research has shown that people with the condition are as much as twice as likely to have high blood pressure as those with healthy gums – possibly due to inflammation that occurs with gum disease triggering inflammation in the heart as well.
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Red, swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Gum recession, when the gums pull away from the teeth
- Loose teeth (in severe cases)
Gum Disease Prevention Tips
Since the association between gum disease and high blood pressure is so strong, a good way to protect yourself from heart problems related to blood pressure is to take steps to prevent gum disease from occurring in the first place.
The best ways to keep your gums healthy include:
- Brushing teeth for two minutes, twice a day to clean away plaque and bacteria
- Flossing between teeth daily to remove any bacteria buildup between teeth
- Drinking plenty of water, which helps keep the mouth hydrated to wash away bacteria naturally
- Eating a balanced, nutritious diet
- Quitting smoking and tobacco use
- Visiting your dentist twice annually – or as often as recommended
Now that you know a bit more about the surprising connection between gum disease and high blood pressure, it’s a great time to schedule an appointment for a checkup and cleaning. Your dental team will be sure to evaluate your gum health and help you get treatment for gum disease if needed.