We’ve been taking our Modern Dental patients’ blood pressure for years. It’s been a part of our hygiene appointments as just one more way that we do our best to take good care of our patients.
But many wonder why we do it. So I’ve decided to answer that question in today’s blog post.
You’re Cleaning My Mouth – Who Cares About Blood Pressure?
As we all know, the mouth and the body aren’t separate. If you have conditions in the body, especially systemic problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, or hypertension, they affect your dental health as well.
The American Heart Association has guidelines that show a healthy range of blood pressure stats, as well as an “at risk” range and finally a “seek medical attention ASAP” range. If you are significantly high when you get in here, then we may choose to forego the appointment and get you to your primary care physician.
Oftentimes, patients see their dentists more often than their doctors, so it’s a really great screening tool. There’s a statistic that says that 50% of people with hypertension don’t know that they have it! And you’ve only got one heart. If it’s constantly under stress, then this is something that you need to talk to your doctor about.
Your doctor will then be able to tell you the best course of action; whether it’s diet and exercise, medication, nutrition counseling, or any other methods used to combat hypertension and other heart conditions.
What can I expect when I come in?
With each patient, we update health history right off the bat to make sure that everything is still going good for them.
Visiting a dental office can be a stressful experience for a lot of individuals. If you do have hypertension or are at risk for stroke or clotting, then the stress of being here can raise your blood pressure enough that you could then be at risk for bigger problems, such as a heart attack or stroke.
By taking your blood pressure right away, we minimize the potential of those things happening.
Knowledge is power.
Because many patients come into our offices with higher blood pressure than usual, due to nerves, we usually don’t worry about the numbers if they are just slightly above the normal range the first time. But if we see that your numbers are elevated to the moderate hypertension levels several times in a row, that can be an indication that you may be suffering from hypertension and not know it.
You won’t feel like you have high blood pressure until it is significantly high and at dangerous levels. So knowing where you stand throughout the year will help you manage and maintain your health.
And as you keep your body healthy, your mouth will be healthier as well.