When gums are red, swollen, and tender, or bleed with brushing and flossing, signs of periodontal disease are present. These conditions worsen blood pressure and interfere with hypertension treatment. According to the American Heart Association, “Patients with high blood pressure, and the clinicians who care for them, should be aware that good oral health may be just as important in controlling the condition, as are lifestyle interventions, such as a low-salt diet, regular exercise and weight control.”
People with high blood pressure taking medication for their condition are more likely to benefit from the therapy if they have good oral health, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension.
Findings of the analysis, based on a review of medical and dental exam records of more than 3,600 people with high blood pressure, reveal 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. Specifically, people with periodontal disease were 20 percent less likely to reach healthy blood pressure ranges, compared with patients in good oral health.