Oral Health Implications of Hypertension

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Hypertension more commonly known as High blood pressure is a leading concern.  It’s high prevalence and affecting more than a billion people worldwide is plaguing individuals of all ages.

Hypertension is known as the “silent killer” and before delineating upon the dynamics of hypertension in context to oral health, it is important to discuss two categories of hypertension. Primary hypertension, the first type, it attributable to lack of identifiable causative factors for increased blood pressure, accounting for approximately 90-95% of all hypertensive cases. Secondary hypertension, the second type, has an identifiable cause for diagnosed hypertension.

General symptoms of hypertension include severe headaches, nausea and vomiting, confusion, changes in vision, nosebleeds, and chest pains. However, it is imperative to understand the risk factor that may predispose patients to hypertension.

Moreover, Medications that are used to treat hypertension (Anti Hypertensive medications) can have effects on the oral environment. The most common symptom of all is patient experiencing dry mouth, a condition known as Xerostomia. In such conditions there is decrease in saliva in the mouth that may result in various Gum Diseases, Tooth Decay, loss of tooth structure, etc.

Similarly, altered sense of taste is another impact of hypertension on the oral hygiene of the patients. In more serious situations, gingival overgrowth is a common side-effect of hypertension medications. This is a condition termed as Gingival Hyperplasia.

Patients with high blood pressure are, therefore, advised by dentists in Pakistan to visit their dentist regularly and closely monitor their blood pressure to keep it under control and to maintain good oral health.

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