May is Blood Pressure Awareness Month. It’s a great opportunity to talk to your dentist about the effects of hypertension medication on your dental hygiene. While calcium channel blockers (CCBs) can dilate your arteries and make it easier for your heart to pump blood through your body, they can sometimes affect your teeth and gums. Here are some of the common side effects of CCBs and what we can do to minimize them.
Patients who take CCBs to control their hypertension may experience gingival hyperplasia, commonly referred to as gum overgrowth. Their gums may become bumpy and thick and even start to extend over the teeth. This can cause uncomfortable chewing and may make it difficult to properly clean in between the teeth, leading to poor oral hygiene, including excessive plaque build-up.
– Tooth Decay
Sugary foods release acids that damage tooth enamel. Sticky plaque can help these acids adhere to teeth, causing rapid tooth decay and cavities.
Plaque can encourage the growth of bacteria, resulting in an immune response in your body. The gums swell, change color, and bleed abnormally.
– Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease occurs when the gums start to recede from the teeth. The bacteria are then able to attack the bone structure that supports the teeth.
Luckily, there are several measures you can take to minimize the problems caused by some hypertension medications. The first step to keeping gum overgrowth at bay is to keep good habits at home. Regular brushing and flossing is key. There are also non-surgical procedures we can perform in our office, including deep cleaning techniques like root planning and scaling. If necessary, we can also perform surgery to remove the overgrown tissue.
If you have concerns about your blood pressure medication and dental hygiene, contact us today. We can design a plan to keep your smile healthy and looking great.