Can Blood Pressure Medications Impact Your Oral Health?

People who need lifesaving medications learn to deal with a few unpleasant side effects. High blood pressure medications are needed to keep the heart from being stressed. These types of medications, as well as other calcium channel blockers, can have a devastating impact on the health of your mouth.

An Overgrowth of Gum Tissue

Calcium channel blockers (CCBs) help to ease blood pressure by dilating blood vessels. This helps blood to circulate with less pressure being placed on the heart. CCBs can, however, lead to an overgrowth of the gums. Gums may also tend to become very lumpy, thick and uneven. As the gum tissue expands and begins to cover the teeth, it can make it very difficult to properly chew your food. Cleaning the teeth also becomes difficult and can result in cavities or abscesses.

Dry Mouth

An increased amount of gum tissue is not the only side effect of high blood pressure medications. Dry mouth is also common. CCBs can reduce the amount of saliva that is produced, limiting its natural flow and drying out tissues in the mouth and throat. Without the continuous flow of saliva, bad breath and gum disease can begin to take over the mouth. As the tissues in the mouth continue to dry out, less saliva is available to help break down food and begin the digestion process. A decrease in saliva also allows food particles and debris to build up around the teeth.

If you experience dry mouth as a side effect of one of your medications, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the discomfort associated with it. They include:

  • Run a humidifier when you sleep
  • Chew gum or suck on small candies (sugarless is best)
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eliminate beverages that contain caffeine
  • Try not to eat foods that are too salty or spicy

Talk to your doctor if your symptoms become too uncomfortable.

Abnormal Bleeding

Blood-thinning medications like aspirin, Coumadin, and other anticoagulants can increase the risk of your gums bleeding when you brush your teeth or eat chewy foods. They can also lead to excessive bleeding during various types of oral surgery or other procedures that are minimally invasive. High blood pressure medications can lead to soft tissue reactions in the gum that result in abnormal bleeding, swelling and soreness.

Proper Oral Health

One of the best ways to control some of the adverse reactions is to take proper care of your mouth. Brush and floss your teeth regularly, but use a soft bristled brush that will not be overly abrasive to the teeth and gums. Use a mouthwash that is approved by the American Dental Association. A mouthwash can work its way in between teeth where a brush may have difficulty reaching.

Taking care to keep the mouth, gums, and teeth clean may help to prevent cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues that may arise from the use of lifesaving medications. Always draw your dentist’s attention to any problems you may be experiencing when you go in for your regular dental check-ups. Problems can be addressed much sooner and a solution can be found before your gums and teeth end up damaged.

Don’t Worry About the Dental Bill When You’re Covered by Momentum!

If you take blood pressure medications or any other type of drug affecting your oral health, dental insurance can help you reduce the amount you’re spending to remedy your dental problem woes. Get a quote for quality, affordable dental health insurance from Momentum. Find a dental plan that works for you and gives you the peace of mind you need!

Common Oral Diseases for Adults and When to See a Dentist

Proper oral hygiene is crucial in maintaining overall body wellness. Going above and beyond daily brushing and flossing your teeth can help lower your risk for diseases. Visiting your dentist every 6 months for professional cleanings, maintaining a balanced diet and not smoking will help keep your mouth and teeth healthy. Regular dental exams will also help to identify oral diseases before they grow and spread.

Below are the most common oral diseases in adults.

Gum Disease and Gingivitis

The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis and it is the only reversible stage. If left untreated, gingivitis will lead to a more serious oral condition called periodontitis. Early gum disease symptoms can easily go undetected in day to day life, making dental checkups vital to maintaining healthy gums.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can affect any area of your mouth including the lips, cheek lining, tongue and throat. If you have a family history or genetic predisposition, your dentist will perform an oral cancer screening at every checkup. Oral cancer caught early on can be treated more easily.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

  • Sores that bleed easily and do not heal
  • A new hard lump growth
  • A new rough area
  • Numbness, pain or tenderness
  • A shift in your bite

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth from time to time is normal, though if you are experiencing dry mouth more often than not there may be an underlying issue. Dry mouth can be caused by a number of issues, including tooth decay. Consult your dentist if you are concerned about your dry mouth symptoms. Your dentist will check your teeth for signs of decay which can result from decreased salivary flow.

If you experience dry mouth due to a medication you are taking or from a particular health condition, it’s important to take proper care of your teeth. Without the cleansing effects of salvia, tooth decay becomes more common.

Dental Decay & Cavities

Tooth decay is permanently damaged areas in teeth which develop into tiny holes known as cavities. Plaque, mostly made up of bacteria, is the cause of tooth decay. The decay will start in the enamel and if left untreated will decay deep into the tooth and even progress to the roots. Cavities can be identified from a dental exam and confirmed with an x-ray. Sensitivity in a tooth is a leading symptom of tooth decay.

How to prevent tooth decay:

  • Brush your teeth at a minimum twice per day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss everyday
  • Limit sugary snacks
  • See your dentist or oral health professional regularly

Oral Infections

There are many different types of viruses which can cause sores and infections. Proper oral hygiene can help prevent certain infections from occurring. Below are common oral infections in children and adults:

  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease
  • Thrush
  • Herpangina
  • Canker sores
  • Oral herpes

Momentum Plans Dental Insurance

Oral health has a significant impact on your overall health. Poor dental hygiene can lead to pain, discomfort, and even oral diseases, which left untreated can cause serious health risks. The best way to prevent your oral health from declining is by participating in regular preventative maintenance like biannual cleanings and staying on top of your dental health with a trusted dental provider. By enrolling in individual dental insurance from Momentum Plans you can help protect your oral health now and in the future.

How Fluoride Mouthwash Can Help Seniors

As you grow older, oral healthcare becomes crucial. You only get one set of permanent teeth, so it’s important to take care of them your entire life. Issues such as gum disease can cause the loss of your permanent teeth as you age. Conditions like heart disease and diabetes are actually increased by poor oral health as well.

Symptoms of Poor Oral Health

There are a number of conditions that are worsened when you forget to brush, floss and use mouthwash, including:

  1. Gum Disease: Gum disease can be a very serious condition. It occurs when the gum tissues around your teeth become infected due to a buildup of plaque. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and the symptoms include swollen or bleeding gums. It is reversible, though, with proper treatment.
  2. Tooth Decay: Both tooth and root decay can occur in older adults, so it is essential to clean the gums and the teeth in order to remove plaque and food. A good cleaning at your dentist will also help clean at and below the gum line to remove plaque and tartar.
  3. Sensitive Teeth: Poor oral health can cause sensitive teeth which hurt when you drink cold water or eat ice cream. This sensitivity can be caused by brushing too hard or having worn tooth enamel. Using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth, and brushing properly, can minimize the sensitivity.
  4. Dry Mouth: Dry mouth occurs when your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva. This is often caused by prescription medications. Dry mouth can cause tooth and root decay but a fluoride mouthwash can help alleviate the problem.

Taking Care of Your Teeth

Some seniors suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, which affects memory, thinking and behavior. Caregivers must be diligent in helping these patients take care of their teeth. And, in general, aging sometimes causes memory loss, so it’s important to make sure seniors are remembering their oral healthcare.

Regular visits to the dentist are vital when it comes to dental care for seniors. Your dentist can diagnose and treat any problems that arise. Your dentist can also look at your risk for future problems, like cavities, and help develop a plan to fight them.

Fluoride Mouthwash

For many seniors, dental care should include a fluoride mouthwash. A fluoride mouthwash can help in a number of ways: since fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that strengthens the hard outer surfaces of teeth, it can help protect your mouth against cavities. It can even help reverse early tooth decay.

Because you circulate the liquid around your entire mouth, you don’t need a brush to get to every tooth surface. Mouthwash is similar to your saliva in that it keeps the oral tissue moist and helps spread fluoride to the entire mouth.

Momentum Insurance Plans

At Momentum Insurance Plans, we want Wisconsin residents of every age to have access to affordable dental care. We offer dental insurance plans and discount dental plans for groups and individuals. Please contact us for more information.

Choosing the Best Dental Plan for Your Family

Choose Momentum Plans for Dental Coverage Your Family Can Rely On

At a time when employers are reducing costs by cutting benefits, one of the first things to go is often employer-sponsored dental insurance. This means millions of Americans are scrambling to find their own private insurance providers, without any guidance on how to sort through their insurance options.

Choosing the right dental plan for your family is a serious decision. Pick the wrong plan and you may discover that you don’t have the level of coverage that you need in an emergency, saddling you with thousands of dollars in bills. On the other hand, overpaying for coverage can put a financial strain on the family on a month-to-month basis.

Factors to Consider When Purchasing Family Dental Insurance

As you consider your dental insurance plan options, there are several key factors to examine. Take your time in deciding which plan is right for you and your family.

Ages of Family Members

Dental care for young adults centers primarily on preventative care and diagnostic services, like x-rays. Once you reach age 40, your dental needs change slightly. At this point the wear and tear on your teeth may necessitate reparative services, like crowns or root canals. If you are approaching retirement, long-term treatment of chronic conditions, like gum disease, are of greater concern, as are very expensive procedures, like being fitted for dentures.

You can change your dental plan as your life situation changes. Adding more services and a higher level of coverage becomes necessary.

Cost Considerations

Wisconsin dental insurance plans have associated costs that include: your monthly premiums, copays, and your total deductible. It’s imperative that you strike the right balance between the two costs in order to use your insurance effectively. Plans with low premiums often have high deductibles or copays for major procedures. This means that your trips to the dentist for a cleaning are likely covered completely by the dental plan, but you may have to pay several hundred dollars in deductibles before your insurance steps in to cover part of a major procedure. A low deductible reduces your financial risk for expensive procedures, but you will have to pay more premium for the coverage each month.

A final important cost consideration is the annual maximum covered by your plan. Young families don’t often need to worry about approaching the annual maximum, but for older adults, the maximum limit is a real concern. You may need to choose a plan that has higher monthly premiums and a higher maximum if you have expensive reparative or restorative dental procedures in your near future.

To find the right balance, talk over your insurance needs and expectations with an insurance specialist who will walk you through your options.

Network Size

An inexpensive dental plan often comes with a significant drawback, namely a strict limit on the number of available dentists who accept your plan. As you consider your insurance options, ask about the size of the network and the number of dentists from which you have to choose. A large network allows you to find a dentist with whom you feel comfortable and who provides the services that you need close to home.

Momentum Insurance serves cities throughout Wisconsin, including:

  • Milwaukee
  • Madison
  • Racine
  • Green Bay
  • Oshkosh
  • Fond du Lac
  • Waukesha

Levels of Coverage

Not all insurance plans cover all dental procedures. Most plans use a three-tiered system.

  • Preventative: These services include your cleanings, x-rays, and dental exams. A typical plan allows for two visits per year.
  • Basic: An expansion of a preventative plan to include coverage for fillings and other common dental procedures is known as basic coverage. Almost everyone that uses a preventative dental plan will benefit from the additional coverage of a basic plan.
  • Comprehensive: For the most expensive dental procedures, you need major dental coverage. This tier includes services such as root canals, crowns, and dentures. A major dental plan does offer the highest level of coverage, but it’s often not the right choice for families who don’t expect to need major services in the next year or two.

Most individual plans don’t cover cosmetic procedures and you may need a special plan to cover orthodontics for your children. Be sure to consider this if you believe your children may need braces.

It may take some time to find the right dental plan for your family, but it’s important that you do so in order to have the coverage that you need when you need it the most. Contact Momentum today to learn more about our coverage options for your family.