Oral Health Group

high blood pressure, diuretics and root caries risks

June 24, 2014
by Kahaliah Richards

A preferred first-line method to manage blood pressure is diuretics.

In this context, a recent Japanese study of institutionalized seniors found that the most significant risk factor for a dry mouth was taking diuretics. How significant? A person on “water pills” is 7 times more likely to have a dry mouth than one who is not taking diuretics.

For those dental practices where half of the patients are past mid-life, this means a lot of patients with a dry mouth — a condition which is the precursor to more dental decay. Indeed, our patient surveys show that a dry mouth is one of the top 2 risk factors now for caries in Canadian dental practices.

I am frequently asked this question by the dental team: how do we (quickly) sort out those patients who are at high risk of dental decay, from those who aren’t?

My answer?

First, engage the patient to perform their own risk assessment in the waiting room. Shared diagnosis is voted in patient surveys to be the second most important service you can provide. Once engaged, most patients want to know their options.

Second, look for key identifiers such as: diabetics, Parkinson’s, and light of this Japanese study, those taking diuretics. All these situations mean high risk.


SOURCED: Partners In Prevention

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