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Gum Disease Makes Managing Hypertension More Challenging

  • December 14, 2018

Gum disease isn’t good for your teeth, and it turns out that it isn’t doing any favors for your blood pressure, either.

Researchers reviewed data from the yearly U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found that people who had periodontal disease and were in treatment for hypertension had higher blood pressure than those who didn’t have gum disease. They also were less likely to have their blood pressure under control with medication, according to a study published in October in the journal Hypertension.

The more severe the gum disease, the more difficult it was to control blood pressure, the study found. Researchers analyzed data that was collected between 2009 and 2014 on adults who were at least 30 years old with hypertension who underwent a dental exam, “including 3,626 who said they were currently taking medication to control high blood pressure and 460 who said they were not,” Reuters reported.

Dental exams of the survey participants revealed that approximately 52 percent had periodontal disease – also referred to as gum disease – which is a chronic inflammation of the tissue surrounding tooth roots. Gum disease has been linked to higher inflammation throughout the body, according to the article in Hypertension.

“Most of those with gum disease had moderately-severe cases, about 3 percent had mild disease and 12 percent had severe gum disease,” the article stated.

The takeaway from this research is that those who have hypertension and periodontal disease are at 20 percent higher risk than those who don’t have gum disease to have their hypertension uncontrolled with medication.

Detecting Hypertension

Your dentist and periodontist may be best positioned to identify potential signs of high blood pressure. Routine dental exams with your general dentist include an inspection for signs of gum disease. Being diagnosed with gum disease doesn’t mean you will have high blood pressure, but poor oral hygiene habits and gum disease are considered risk factors, according to the American Academy of Periodontology.

Periodontists and dentists go over your medical history because if you have gum disease, certain medicines and systemic health conditions may indicate that you also have high blood pressure.

You can help prevent high blood pressure by exercising, eating a healthy diet and avoiding smoking.

Treating Gum Disease

If you have hypertension and uncontrolled gum disease, managing the gum disease may pave the way to better management of your high blood pressure.

Dr. David DiGiallorenzo and Dr. Henry Hsu treat serious gum disease with a sophisticated therapy known as LANAP, which stands for laser-assisted new attachment procedure. This nonsurgical treatment involves no cutting of the gums, and it can be completed in a single office visit. A laser is used to remove diseased tissue lining the periodontal pockets and it leaves healthy tissue unharmed. The laser also sterilizes the tissue and bone, and paves the way for healthy healing.

Please call our office today to learn more about this innovative, virtually painless procedure.