Heart health and mouth health linked: Treating gum disease found to help lower blood pressure

Monday, December 25, 2017 by

Brushing your teeth will never be the same again after this: keeping gum disease (periodontitis) at bay can help you lower your blood pressure, especially if you’re at risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure), according to a study presented at the American Heart Association Meeting.

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

The study primarily sampled Chinese patients who were at risk of high blood pressure and were noted to have moderate to severe gum disease, indicates Dr. Tao. A sampling pool of 107 individuals was used for the study. Of the sample, all were 18 years of age and older and mixed to include both male and female participants. All samples had exhibited prehypertension (wherein blood pressure values range from 120 to 139 mmHg for systolic pressure and 80 to 89 mmHg for diastolic pressure) and periodontitis.

Samples were then split so that one group will receive treatment for their gum disease and the other one will remain untreated. Researchers then proceeded with the treatment of the experimental group. Treatments included instructing the group regarding proper oral hygiene and teeth cleaning – including “plaque removal above the gum line,” as well as more intensive procedures such as root cleaning, antibiotic treatment, and dental extractions, when necessary.

Researchers were able to discover that people who had undergone intensive treatment posted a three-point drop in their systolic blood pressure a month after treatment. This value improved three months after treatment, as results recorded drops as low as eight points in systolic blood pressure. Additionally, diastolic pressure was down by four points as well for the experimental group. Finally, systolic blood pressure was noted to have dipped by 13 points for the participants, and diastolic blood pressure decreased by almost 10 points.

The results of this study add more weight to growing evidence that points out the relationship between bacteria levels in our gums and its effects on other areas of our body. An earlier study conducted by the University of Florida discovered that the same bacteria responsible for gum disease could also increase the likelihood of a person developing heart disease. This was discovered through in vivo testing wherein mice that were infected with bacteria that cause gum disease were observed to see how it spreads. Results showed that animals who were infected with the bacteria exhibited an increase in the risk factors for heart disease.

Fast facts about periodontitis

Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that affects the soft tissue and damages the bone that supports your teeth. If left untreated, the condition can lead to a loosening, or even loss, of teeth. While the infection is common, it is preventable – maintaining good oral hygiene is a sure way to prevent it from happening to you. (Related: Build Strong Teeth From the Inside Out.)

To know if you have periodontitis, go to the mirror and check your gums. Healthy gums are firm and slightly pink, and it fits comfortably around your teeth. After that, you can check the following symptoms to see if you are infected, as published on the Mayo Clinic site:

  • Swollen or puffy gums
  • Reddish (not pink) appearance of gums – it can sometimes look dark red or even purplish
  • Gums that are tender to the touch
  • Easily bleeding gums
  • Receding gums – these make your teeth longer than normal
  • The appearance of spaces between the teeth
  • The presence of pus between the teeth and gums
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth – your teeth feel wobbly and feel that they’re about to fall off
  • Pain when chewing
  • Noticeable change in how your teeth fit together when you bite

Learn more about how to protect your teeth the natural way. Head on to Dentistry.news today.

Sources include:



Mayoclinic.org 1

Mayoclinic.org 2



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