My blood pressure remains high even with medication and my physician has asked me to check my dental health. Could my teeth issues be contributing to my hypertension?

Your physician has informed you of an often-overlooked cause of hypertension – gum health. So to answer your question – it’s not so much the teeth but the gums that might be contributing to a part of your hypertension. The mouth is a breeding ground of bacteria. Around six to 20 billion bacteria are present in the mouth at any given time. When there is gum inflammation or bleeding gums, these bacteria enter into the bloodstream in massive numbers. The immune system tries to immediately neutralise them and there is a chronic inflammation of the blood vessels all over the body as a result. This can exacerbate hypertension that will remain as long as the inflammation in the gums persists. Sometimes inflammation around the wisdom teeth especially when they are impacted or partially stuck underneath the gum can also cause similar issues. The good news is that this condition is fairly easy to treat. A thorough cleaning especially under the gum line is required. All tartar and plaque should be meticulously removed. Any problematic spots which might harbour plaque should be treated.

I have gum recession in multiple teeth. I wonder how it got so bad and if it is treatable?

Surprisingly most recession seems to be caused due to dental overzealousness rather than dental neglect. Aggressive and incorrect brushing techniques, bruxism or night-grinding are some common causes. Remember, harder toothbrushes are not always better. Softer brushes used in the proper technique – the direction should always be from the gum to the tooth and never the other way around. Brushing in circles, as commonly thought, is not the right way. When you brush your teeth in a circular direction – you might be going correct in one direction but when you come back against the gum, you are actually pushing the gum away from the tooth. If bruxism or night grinding is the cause of the recession – you might need to treat that as well. This might need a clinical consultation. As far as the treatment is concerned, it is usually done as a minor surgical procedure where tissue is placed in the areas of the receded gums and allowed to heal. This is called grafting. Various options for the grafts are available depending on the patient and doctor’s preference and the clinical situation.