Oral health and blood pressure control

US Study: Poor Oral Health Is Linked to Bad Blood Pressure Control

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  • Patients with periodontal disease may require closer monitoring of their blood pressure, while referrals to dentists may benefit those diagnosed with hypertension.
  • Gum disease appears to worsen blood pressure control in people with hypertension.

Hypertension is a “silent killer” that affects one billion people worldwide. It leads to stroke and heart attacks and is a very significant cause of premature deaths.

The World Health Organization reports that hypertension kills nine million people every year and this number is growing.

SEE ALSO: “My gums bleed when I floss.”

A study published at the American Heart Association’s Hypertension Journal shows that people with healthier gums have lower blood pressure and responded better to antihypertensives compared to those with periodontal (gum) disease.

The researchers also found that people with periodontal disease were 20% less likely to achieve healthy blood pressure compared to those with good oral health.

The results of the analysis were based on a review of medical and dental exam records of over 3,600 people in the US with high blood pressure.

SEE ALSO: Poor Oral Hygiene and Excess Sugar Linked to Heart Disease

Lead investigator Davide Pietropaoli, D.D.S., Ph.D said, “Physicians should pay close attention to patients' oral health, particularly those receiving treatment for hypertension, and urge those with signs of periodontal disease to seek dental care. Likewise, dental health professionals should be aware that oral health is indispensable to overall physiological health, including cardiovascular status.”

Further, he said, "Patients with high blood pressure and the clinicians who care for them should be aware that good oral health may be just as important in controlling the condition as are several lifestyle interventions known to help control blood pressure, such as a low-salt diet, regular exercise and weight control.”

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