Why Does the Dentist Take Your Blood Pressure?

This is a question we get asked more and more. It may seem unnecessary to some of you, but we’d like to share two major reasons why blood pressure should be monitored during your visit to the dentist.

First and foremost, hypertension. Monitoring blood pressure is a harmless precaution that can help detect health concerns early on. With high blood pressure being such a leading cause of health issues in the United States, the American Dental Association (ADA) advises that all dentists aid in the detection and management of hypertension. Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a serious condition that can lead to stroke or heart attack. Any reading above 140/90mmHg is considered to be on the higher side at which point we will recommend you be examined by a physician.

Does your dental care require anesthesia?  If so, certain anesthetics contain agents that increase blood pressure, so in these instances it’s crucial we know if your blood pressure is already above average to prevent any further risk. Blood pressure levels will help us decide what anesthetics can and cannot be administered.

As your dental provider, it is our responsibility to provide safe and efficient assessments for you. Your blood pressure can help us identify anything from hypertension to something as simple as your current comfort level. It’s not uncommon to have feelings of anxiety or stress before undergoing dental work, and if that’s the case, we want to know. By knowing, we can talk you through the procedure or suggest some breathing exercises to help reduce your discomfort. We’re here to make your dental experience as pleasant as possible. The way we see it— if checking your blood pressure will help keep you healthy, well of course we’re going to do it.

If you have any additional questions about blood pressure in the dental world, we’re happy to talk further about it during your next visit or you can feel free to call us at 207-781-5900.

National Women’s Heart Health Day

I-heart-my-heartOn February 7th our office wore red in honor of National Women’s Heart Health Day. Heart problems – like heart attack and stroke – are the number one cause of death of women around the globe. We have participated in the movement for 2 consecutive years now and we plan to continue doing so to continue to spread awareness in hopes to save just one life. This blog post is dedicated to educate you on ways that you can “Know Your Risk” to keep yourself and other women in your life safe, as well ways in which you can join the movement. Please enjoy and know that together we can make a difference.

First order of business is for you to “Know Your Risk.” You may not even know that you are at risk for heart attack, stroke, or other heart conditions. That is a large part of what makes this so scary. Family history, eating habits, and sleep patterns are a few of the key factors that could raise a woman’s risk of heart disease. Knowing what puts you at risk and being proactive by fighting those risks could save your life!

So you may be asking… “What are the risks?”

As we mentioned before, family history, eating habits, and sleep patterns are a few, but it doesn’t end there. Weight, body mass index, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high glucose levels in your blood are all things that put you at risk for heart disease.

Now that you know what the risks are, you may be asking, “How and when should I test for those things?”

Here are some guidelines from the American Heart Association that will help you answer those questions.

  • Blood pressure – every regular health care visit starting at age 20
  • Cholesterol – every five years starting at age 20. More often if: total cholesterol is above 200; if you are a man older than 45 or a woman older than 50; if you’re a woman whose HDL is less than 50 or a man whose HDL is less than 40; if you have other cardiovascular risk factors
  • Weight/body mass index – every health care visit starting at age 20
  • Waist circumference – as needed starting at age 20
  • Blood glucose – every three years starting at age 45

You can start right now by assessing yourself by clicking this link to start your health checkup: https://www.goredforwomen.org/know-your-risk/find-out-your-risk/heart-checkup/