Calcium channel blockers have side effect of gum overgrowth

Amlodipine is one of the most commonly used calcium channel blockers in the UK. It and other drugs in this class such as Lercanipide, Diltiazem, and Verapamil, are used mainly to reduce blood pressure.

The main side effect of this class of drug is ankle swelling due to fluid retention. They can also cause gum hyperplasia, which is a swelling of the gums in the mouth so that teeth look as if they are embedded in a sponge.

The number of cases can be as high as 20% of patients. Cases tend to be under reported by dentists and under recognised by doctors.

As calcium channel blockers are the sixth most commonly prescribed drug in the UK, it is something to be aware of.

It is best treated by changing the drug and dental treatment.

Adapted from letter in BMJ by Francis Hughes, Emeritus professor of periodontology, London. 26th June 21.

Tooth loss affects how well you perform everyday tasks in later life

Adapted from Does tooth loss affect ability to carry out everyday tasks in older people?

By Matsumyama Y et al. J Am Geriatr Soc 1 May 2021

Older adults with more natural teeth are better able to perform everyday tasks such as cooking, taking medications, managing money, making a telephone call or going shopping, according to research from University College London.

Data from 5,631 adults from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging between the ages of 50 and 70 was analysed. Activities of daily living were self reported.

Being exposed to fluoridated water from age 5 to 20 was found to be associated with having more natural teeth in later life.

Professor Georgios Tsakos said, ” We know from previous studies that tooth loss is associated with reduced functional capacity, but this study is the first to provide evidence about the causal effect of tooth loss on the activities of daily living among older adults in England. This effect is considerable.

Older adults with ten natural teeth are 30% more likely to have difficulties with shopping for groceries or working around the house or garden compared to those with 20 natural teeth.

Even after you allow for factors such as educational qualifications, self rated health and their parents’ educational level, we still found that the more natural teeth a person had, the better their functional ability.”

My comment: Interesting. Would dental implants make a difference?

Coconut oil can reduce mouth infections

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Researchers in the Athlone Institute of Technology in Dublin Ireland have been researching the effects on coconut oil on oral health. They have found that coconut oil kills most bacteria in the mouth and importantly the ones that cause tooth decay. The oil is also effective against Candida Albicans that causes thrush.

The team think that it should be added to commercial toothpastes. Indeed there are some makes available. You can also make it yourself. One recipe has coconut oil, baking soda and peppermint oil.

As poor dental health, gingivitis and thrush do affect diabetics more severely than many people perhaps this new finding can help.

(Reported in Naturally Healthy Issue 24 www/ait.ie/aboutaitandathlone/newsevents/pressreleases/2012pressreleases/title-16701-en.html)