3 Ways Cardiovascular Disease Can Affect Your Mouth

Posted on: 14 February 2018

If you have cardiovascular, or heart disease, then you might know that it can lead to changes in your arterial walls, heighten your risk for diminished kidney function, make your blood pressure high, and cause chest pain. What you may not know, is that cardiovascular disease can also cause changes in your mouth. Here are three ways cardiovascular disease can negatively affect your mouth and what you can do about them. 

Anti-Hypertension Drugs

Many people who have been diagnosed with heart disease take anti-hypertension drugs. These prescription medications help lower your blood pressure and help strengthen the contractions of your heart.

Beta blockers are anti-hypertension drugs that not only keep your blood pressure under control, but they also help prevent heart attacks and strokes. While effective in helping to keep your heart healthy, beta blockers can cause a dry mouth. When your salivary glands fail to produce enough saliva to wash away oral bacteria, it can accumulate underneath your gum line, which can predispose you to gingivitis.

If you take medications to lower your blood pressure, make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Try to avoid too much coffee, tea, and colas, as these contain caffeine, which can further dry out your mouth. 

Poor Circulation

Cardiovascular disease can also cause diminished blood flow or poor circulation to your mouth. This can be related to arteriosclerosis, hypertension, or even a cardiac arrhythmia. When blood supply or circulation is slowed to your oral cavity, you may susceptible to gum and dental infections. Furthermore, if you undergo oral surgery, diminished blood flow may lead to delayed wound healing. If you have heart disease and poor circulation, tell your family dentist, who will monitor your oral health for any cardiovascular-related abnormalities. 

Cytokine Release

Heart disease may also raise your risk for systemic inflammation. When you have inflammation inside your body, it is usually the result of the release of chemicals known as pro-inflammatory cytokines. Systemic inflammation not only affects your internal organs, it can also affect your mouth.

If you notice red, inflamed, painful, or bleeding gums, you may have systemic inflammation. Talk to your physician about ways to dampen inflammation, which may help heal your gums. Taking aspirin or antihistamines may help keep inflammation under control by suppressing the release of cytokines,  however, make sure to talk to your physician before taking them for this purpose.

If you have cardiovascular disease, make sure to see your family dentist on a regular basis for dental examinations and professional cleanings. Working with both your dentist and physician will help ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy. 

Contact a center like Apollo Dental Center to learn more.