Gum Disease And Blood Pressure – The Findings And What They Mean

A study in 2018 found that gum disease may be a factor in high blood pressure, affecting both a patient’s ability to achieve healthy blood pressure targets and impacting on the efficacy of medications in treating high blood pressure.
This was a thorough study involving some 3,600 people diagnosed with high blood pressure and published in the Journal of Hypertension.
The key findings of this study showed that those with gum disease were 20% less likely to achieve healthy blood pressure targets and were also less likely to respond to blood pressure medication.
Of the findings, lead author Dr. Davide Pietropaoli, a doctor of dental health at the University of L’Aquila in Italy, said: “Patients with high blood pressure 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.”

Intensive Treatment

Within a month there was a clear difference between the groups, those with the intensive treatment having seen far greater drops in blood pressure. After six months, systolic blood pressure was nearly 13 points and diastolic blood pressure was almost 10 points lower in the intensive treatment group. This shows both that the link between gum disease and high blood pressure has been demonstrated through various studies, and that the level of treatment also matters. It is in everyone’s interest to practice the best dental care they can at home, but the significant improvements to health only came within the group who had a thorough, professional clean to root level.

Side Effects Of Gum Disease

Again, according to the NHS, a worrying list of conditions are linked to gum disease, these including strokes, diabetes and heart disease. There have also been suggestions that gum disease can be a factor in problems linked with pregnancy and, as referenced in a 2019 article in New Scientist, dementia.
Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, states: “The link between oral health and overall body health is well documented and backed by robust scientific evidence.”

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