Gum Disease Treatment May Help Lower Blood Pressure [BLOG]

Patients who were at risk of developing high blood pressure benefitted from intensive treatment to address their gum disease, according to a recent study.

This is timely news, in light of the November announcement that leading heart health experts have tightened the high blood pressure guidelines.

The American Heart Association and 10 other groups redefined high blood pressure as a reading of 130 over 80, down from 140 over 90, The Washington Post reported. This is the first change in 14 years, and it means that 46 percent of American adults now are considered hypertensive. Many of those adults are younger than age 45. Under the former guideline, 32 percent of U.S. adults had high blood pressure.

Finding ways to address high blood pressure is valuable because doing so can lower Americans’ risk for heart and blood vessel disease.

It is encouraging news to learn that intensive gum disease treatment may help these additional people now diagnosed as hypertensive, said Williamsport periodontist Dr. Henry Hsu.

Results of this new study were shared at the recent AHA Scientific Sessions 2017. The study of 107 Chinese patients compared blood pressure levels after standard and intensive gum disease treatment.

Standard treatment consisted of basic oral hygiene instructions and professional teeth cleaning with plaque removal above the gum line. The intensive treatment added cleaning down to the roots with local anesthesia and antibiotic treatment to the standard treatment course, according to an American Heart Association press release. It also included dental extractions, if necessary.

This is what researchers found among patients who received intensive treatment:

  • One month following treatment, systolic blood pressure was nearly three points lower, but no difference was noted in diastolic blood pressure.
  • Three months post-treatment, systolic blood pressure was nearly eight points lower and diastolic pressure measured almost four points lower.
  • Six months after treatment, systolic blood pressure was nearly 13 points lower and diastolic blood pressure was almost 10 points lower.

Some may interpret “intensive treatment” to mean painful and invasive treatment, but that doesn’t have to be the case, Dr. David DiGiallorenzo said. LANAP – laser-assisted new attachment procedure – is the gold standard for treating gum disease and it involves no cutting, no suturing, is virtually painless, and can be completed in an office visit.

Dr. DiGiallorenzo and Dr. Hsu use a laser to painlessly remove diseased tissue and harmful toxins, which promotes healing and tissue regeneration.

“The present study demonstrates for the first time that intensive periodontal intervention alone can reduce blood pressure levels, inhibit inflammation and improve endothelial function,” said study lead author Dr. Jun Tao, chief of the department of Hypertension and Vascular Disease and director of the Institute of Geriatrics Research at The First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China.

Additional studies that involve people from more diverse backgrounds must be conducted, researchers stated.

Meet Dr. D

Dr. David DiGiallorenzo received his training at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Periodontics and Periodontal Prosthesis in the early 1990s. His training included prosthodontics, orthodontics, periodontics, and advanced oral reconstructive techniques, including oral implantology.

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