Did you know that one in every three Americans suffers from high blood pressure – more than 67 million people – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)? In fact, 69% of people who have a first heart attack, 74% of people with chronic heart failure and 77% of those who have had a first stroke all have high blood pressure, according to the CDC.
About half of all those people – or about 33 million Americans – don’t have their blood pressure under control, which puts their dental health at risk. For example, people with high blood pressure may be more likely to bleed more after oral surgery and be more sensitive to anesthesia and other numbing drugs needed for certain dental procedures.
The problems don’t stop there! Some medications to treat high blood pressure and heart disease can also cause dry mouth, a condition in which the mouth produces less saliva. The lack of saliva in your mouth can make you more susceptible to cavities, gum disease and other mouth irritations.
So what can someone with high blood pressure do? Follow our 5 tips for controlling your blood pressure and improve both your heart health and your dental health:
- Follow a healthy eating plan. The D.A.S.H (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is endorsed by the American Heart Association and other reputable health organizations.
- Reduce sodium in your diet. It is believed a diet high in sodium contributes to hypertension.
- Increase your physical activity. Even walking 30 minutes a day will help lower your blood pressure.
- Limit your alcohol intake and stop tobacco use. Recommended alcoholic libation intake is 1 drink a day for ladies and 2 drinks a day for men. By stopping tobacco use, you will not only improve your hypertension, but your oral health too.
- Brush your teeth twice daily and floss once daily. Cleaning your gum line can help you avoid the negative effects of high blood pressure.