High blood pressure afflicts over 29% of American adults ages 18 and over. Recent iinternational research published in a news release by the American Heart Association reveals that treating gum disease may help stop this silent killer. Gum disease such as periodontitis is chronic inflammation of the gum tissue. It has been linked to cardiovascular disease, endothelial dysfunction (surfaces of blood and lympatic vessel), and blood pressure elevation. Fairfield Dental Associates read that a group of patients in China in a gum disease study had a 3 point drop in their systolic blood pressure readings after undergoing intensive gum disease treatment that involved scraping, planning, and tooth extraction. Study participants included 107 Chinese men and women ages 18 and over who had prehypertension and moderate to severe gum disease. Researchers also found:
- Three months after treatment systolic levels were nearly eight points lower and diastolic pressure had dropped nearly four points in these patients.
- Six months following treatment systolic levels had dropped almost 13 points, while diastolic pressured was nearly 10 points lower.
“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 Jun Tao, M.D., Ph.D., 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.
Is the Dentist the Cure for Hypertension?
Going to the dentist cannot assure you will never have high blood pressure as there are many causes for it including lifestyle, diet, and heredity. Dentists can prevent gum disease which has been linked to cardiovascular disease. Think about it. If a six-month dental cleaning and check up gives you protection against heart disease, it is certainly worth its weight in gold. You'll have peace of mind and clean teeth at the very least!
Gum disease does not have to happen. Most people don't know if they have it. That is why it is so important to see the dentist twice a year. Dr. Katherine Finkel at Fairfield Dental Associates is highly trained in detecting gum disease. In addition toregular cancer screenings on bi-annual exams, she also looks for telltale signs of other disease that can show up in the mouth, long before it becomes a life-threatening condition.
Certain people are more at risk for gum disease. Fairfield Dental Associates are specialists at reducing your risk factors. Risk factors include:
- a predisposition due to genetics
- poor oral hygiene
- steroids, anti-epileptic drugs and contraceptives
You need to see the dentist if you have any of these symptoms:
- bleeding gums
- swollen, red or tender gums
- loose teeth
- bad breath
- a change in the way dentures fit
- a change in your bite
Be aware that children are subject to gum disease too. Don't ignore their smiles either. Fairfield Dental Associates can treat and often reverse gum disease. If you are the 50 percent who may have periodontitis and not know it, you need to find out.