Hypertension (high blood pressure) is one of the most common risk factors for developing other serious health problems like heart disease or stroke. It’s also the most common primary diagnosis in the U.S., affecting approximately 75 million adults nationwide. Hypertensive heart disease refers to heart problems that occur when someone has high blood pressure over a long period of time.
Did you know that people with severe periodontal (gum) disease may be twice as likely to have high blood pressure? That’s according to a recent study published by the American Heart Association (AHA). Periodontal bacteria not only damage our gums, they also trigger inflammatory responses that can lead to the development of systemic diseases, including hypertension and a number of cardiovascular diseases.
A related study by the AHA found that people with healthier gums had lower blood pressure and responded better to blood-pressure-lowering medications than those with gum disease. People with gum disease were 20% less likely to have healthy blood pressure ranges than those who had good oral health.
Valuable allies in oral and overall health
Your dentist and dental hygienist can help you stay healthy. Brushing after every meal and before going to bed and flossing at least once a day is important, but so is getting professional dental cleanings regularly. If plaque, the sticky film that forms on your teeth, is allowed to accumulate, it can harden and turn into tartar (also called calculus). Only your dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar. Doing so also removes the harmful bacteria that can get into your bloodstream and increase your risk of developing high blood pressure and/or heart disease.
If you’ve been diagnosed with hypertensive heart disease, we'll provide you with two extra cleanings each year in addition to the two included in your plan. All you need to do is make an appointment with a participating dentist. To find a provider in your network, sign in to regence.com or the Regence app and select Find Care.