People who take medications to help regulate their blood pressure are familiar with side effects such as drowsiness, nausea, or dizziness. Besides these general side effects, some blood pressure drugs may also contribute to complications with oral health. A class of drugs known as calcium channel blockers (CCBs) is particularly known to cause problems with oral health. CCBs are used to help control blood pressure by dilating or relaxing blood vessels, which makes it easier for an individual’s heart to pump blood.
How CCBs Affect Your Oral Health
Doctors often prescribe calcium channel blockers to patients who cannot tolerate beta-blockers, a common blood pressure drugs class. CCBs can cause gingival hyperplasia, a condition in which there is an overgrowth of the gums. Gingival hyperplasia occurs when the gums grow and extend past their normal size to cover more of the teeth. This condition leads to pain and discomfort. It also creates an abnormal look of the gums which is embarrassing for many people. Besides, hyperplasia development as a result of CCB use is linked to bad or poor oral hygiene habits, giving rise to the development of periodontal disease.
Gingival hyperplasia also leads to mouth dryness where there is insufficient saliva flow in the mouth. A dry mouth causes discomfort and increases the risk of having dental disease since there is not enough saliva to sweep away bacteria from the mouth and maintain adequate mineral content for the enamel.
You may suffer gum disease and tooth decay if you have a dry mouth due to the use of CCBs. It is therefore essential that you let our dental professionals know that you are taking blood pressure medications and other drugs. If you are taking blood pressure medications and are experiencing symptoms of dental disease, ensure you make frequent visits to our dental office. To find out how you can manage your oral care when on medication, schedule an appointment with us for a consultation.