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Oral Health and Blood Pressure

We’ve all heard it before, all the ways poor oral hygiene affects our mouths: bad breath, cavities, gingivitis, periodontal disease. But what you may not realize is that it affects a lot more than just the mouth. Poor oral health can affect the entire body, from increasing your risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes to the newest discovery: its effect on your blood pressure.

According to a report in the journal Hypertension, having poor oral health can not only increase your blood pressure, but it can also make treating high blood pressure an exercise in futility. In a study of 3,600 people, the journal reported that those with healthier gums had lower blood pressure and responded better to high blood pressure treatment than those who had unhealthy gums.

So, why the disparity? Our old nemesis inflammation. According to the study, inflammation causes blood vessel damage, which in turn increases blood pressure. In fact, people in the group who had inflammation due to periodontal disease were a whopping 20 percent less successful in their treatment for high blood pressure than those who did not have periodontal disease!

What can you do if you have periodontal disease, high blood pressure or both? For starters, schedule an appointment with Dr. Abelar to get your teeth and gums at optimum health. Be sure to take excellent care of your teeth and gums - brush twice a day for at least two minutes a day, and make sure you are flossing at least once a day. Flossing is what keeps plaque and bacteria from becoming trapped in your gums and causing periodontal disease in the first place.

Finally, if you have high blood pressure, it is imperative that you get it treated as soon as possible. High blood pressure can lead to stroke and heart disease, so it should not be taken lightly.

If you are concerned about your oral health, please give Dr. Abelar’s office a call at 858-866-9692.

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