Calcium Channel Blockers and Oral Health
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common medical condition. One series of medications used to treat hypertension is calcium channel blockers, or CCBs, and they are usually quite successful at regulating blood pressure. Like most medications, however, CCBs have a listed series of side effects, and some of these could create risks for your oral health.
Oral Concerns with CCBs
One side effect of CCBs is a lowered production of saliva, causing dry mouth. Not only does this affect how your food is digested, but saliva also helps repair and reinforce the protective layer of enamel on your teeth. With less saliva, your teeth and gums face a stronger risk for oral infection and tooth decay.
Some individuals taking CCBs report an excess buildup of gum tissue. This is a condition called gingival hyperplasia, also known as gingival overgrowth. The gums of a person with this condition become thick and lumpy, but not tender or swollen, and extend abnormally over the teeth. It causes discomfort and difficulty chewing. Despite gingival overgrowth covering more of the teeth, germs and bacteria still make their way between the teeth and the extended gums. At the same time, flossing and brushing become a significant challenge, as the overgrown gums prevent access to hidden bacteria. As the overgrowth continues, more germs and bacteria propagate in an increasingly sheltered harbor, making the issue worse.
What Can Be Done About CCB Side Effects?
If you are diagnosed with hypertension and your doctor prescribes CCBs, please make sure to inform your dentist at Marconi Dental Group – especially if you notice any side effects. Thankfully, your oral health can still be maintained.
- Adjusting CCB dosage. CCBs are not the only medication available to help with hypertension, and your doctor might agree to try a different type in your case. Alternatively, a simple change in the amount of dosage might be enough to balance out the side effects.
- In-office treatment. Gum overgrowth can be addressed with a deep cleaning, like scaling and root planing. This cleaning also improves your overall oral hygiene. In more advanced cases that threaten tooth integrity, like periodontitis, your dentist might choose a surgical procedure to remove the excess overgrowth as the best course of action.
- At-home treatment. Brushing and flossing can help to keep any overgrowth from getting out of hand.
- Regular checkups with your dentist. With any noted side effects to CCBs, it is important to monitor the situation and make sure the treatment is working as intended, with no complications. Regular follow-up visits to the Marconi Dental Group ensure that everything is proceeding as expected.
With both your doctor and your dentist working together to keep a close watch on your hypertension, CCB side effects, and your oral health, you can look forward to your heart and teeth staying healthy for years to come. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the issue further with your dentist, please schedule a consultation on our website or call the Marconi Dental Group directly.