Italian researchers have found that good oral health can benefit those trying to control their high blood pressure, according to a study published on Monday.
The study was published in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension in Washington.
It revealed that those with healthier gums have lower blood pressure and responded better to blood pressure-lowering medications, compared with individuals, who have gum disease, a condition known as periodontitis.
The findings were based on a review of medical and dental exam records of more than 3,600 people with high blood pressure.
Therefore, the study’s researchers suggested that patients with periodontal disease should consider closer blood pressure monitoring, while those diagnosed with hypertension, or persistently elevated blood pressure, might benefit from a referral to a dentist.
“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,’’ said the Study Lead
Investigator, Davide Pietropaoli, from the University of L’Aquila in Italy.
In the study, patients with severe periodontitis had systolic pressure that was, on average, 3mmHg higher than those with good oral health.
Systolic pressure, 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 that can be achieved by reducing salt intake by six grams per day, according to the researchers