Study Reveals: Poor Oral Health May Interfere with Your Hypertension Treatment

A new research by the American Heart Association reveals that people with good oral health and healthier gums have lower blood pressure. These people also respond better to blood pressure-lowering medications when compared to those individuals who suffer from periodontitis.

People with Periodontal Disease Need Closer Blood Pressure Monitoring

The research based on a review of medical and dental exam records of more than 3,600 people with high blood pressure, emphasized the role of good oral health in blood pressure control, and its role in preventing the adverse health effects like cardiovascular disease and stroke.

[Related Article: Periodontal Treatment: When Do You Need Dental Deep Cleaning?]

It stated that among people being treated for hypertension, those with severe periodontitis had a systolic pressure that was, on average, 3 mmHg (milligrams of mercury) higher than those without gum disease. In addition, these people were less likely to have their blood pressure under control with medication. Systolic pressure, which is the upper number in a blood pressure reading, indicates the pressure of blood against the walls of the arteries.

The 3mmHg difference is similar to the reduction in blood pressure achieved by reducing salt intake by 6 grams per day.

However, among people with untreated hypertension, the presence of periodontal disease widened the gap even farther by 7 mmHg higher systolic pressure. Suggesting that people with the periodontal disease should consider closer blood pressure monitoring. The findings further added that overall, people with periodontal disease (a condition marked by severe gum infection and tooth damage) were 20 percent less likely to reach healthy blood pressure range, when compared with patients in good oral health.

Periodontal Therapy As Crucial As Lifestyle Interventions

The study's lead researcher Davide Pietropaoli, D.D.S., Ph.D., of the University of L'Aquila in Italy, further added that people who are receiving treatment for hypertension might benefit from a dedicated program for the reduction of periodontal disease by a dentist or periodontist. He also suggested that people with high blood pressure and the physicians who are treating them should be aware of the fact that periodontal therapy together with lifestyle measures like, regular exercise, healthy and low-salt diet, and weight control, could help to lower blood pressure and possibly limit the need for high blood pressure medications.


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