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3150 North Elm Street, Suite 210
Greensboro, NC 27408

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May 17th, 2020

High Blood Pressure and Your Dental Health

May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month and is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and recognized by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). This educational month aims to reduce death and disability related to high blood pressure through professional, patient, and public education.

What does it mean to have high blood pressure?

High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition whereby  the force of the blood against the artery walls is consistently too high. It is usually defined as blood pressure above 140/90 and is considered severe if the pressure is above 180/120. Hypertension often has no symptoms, but over time, if untreated, can cause health conditions such as heart disease and stroke. Hypertension is estimated to affect up to 40 percent of people over the age of 25 worldwide.

To prevent high blood pressure the following is recommended:

  1. Don’t smoke - Did you know that each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for several minutes after you finish?   Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of heart disease and help return your blood pressure to normal.
  2. Watch your  weight - Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Losing even a small amount of weight if you are overweight or obese can help reduce blood pressure. 
  3. Exercise - Regular physical activity of 150 minutes a week or about 30 minutes most days can lower your blood pressure.
  4. Limit Salty and Fatty Foods - Eating a healthy diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products can lower your pressure by up to 11 mm of mercury if you have hypertension. It is also recommended to reduce sodium and fatty foods to improve your heart health.

What does high blood pressure have to do with oral health?

The American Heart Association’s Journal of Hypertension indicates that “People with high blood pressure taking medication for their conditions are more likely to benefit from drug therapy if they have good oral health.” In a 2018 study, researchers found that people with healthy gums react more positively to their medication than those already diagnosed with gum disease. It was also noted that patients with gum disease were 20% less likely to achieve a normal blood pressure range.

Because the human body is interconnected, going to your bi-annual dental check-ups and cleaning appointments with your dentist is as important as attending your annual physical exams with your physician.  Your dentist may be one of the first people to recognize if something looks wrong with your health, because bad breath, mouth sores, and bleeding gums may be signs of a more serious condition. If you notice something seems off, ask your dentist for help at your next appointment and also consult with your physician.

Where We Are Located

3150 North Elm Street
Suite 210
Greensboro, NC 27408
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