Written by: John Tunnell, DDS (Dallas County Dental Society member)
Researchers at The First Affiliated Hospital in Guangzhou, China have found that controlling periodontal disease in patients with diagnosed prehypertension may aid in lowering blood pressure without the need for antihypertensive medications. Ninety-five patients with moderate to severe periodontal disease and prehypertension (defined as a blood pressure of 120 to 139/80 to 89 mm Hg) were included.
At the beginning of the study, all patients received extensive oral hygiene instructions, had a complete periodontal exam, and had blood drawn to measure levels of endothelial microparticles and inflammatory biomarkers, which assess blood vessel integrity and function and the overall inflammatory burden in an individual, respectively. Patients were then randomly assigned to one of two groups, with the first group receiving intensive periodontal therapy consisting of scaling and root planing, extraction of hopeless teeth, and delivery of local antibiotic agents into gum pockets over a 4-week period while the second group received only a supragingival prophylactic cleaning (prophy) at baseline. All patients were followed closely and re-examined over a 6-month period.
Six months after treatment, patients receiving intensive periodontal therapy saw a significant improvement in periodontal condition, a reduction in blood pressure, and improved blood vessel function and lower levels of inflammatory markers compared to the group receiving only a prophy. The researchers thus concluded that intensive periodontal treatment improved blood pressure, improved blood vessel function, and lowered markers of systemic inflammation without the addition of antihypertensive medication therapy. Based on these findings, it is important to discuss your oral health needs with both your physician and periodontist or general dentist, especially if you have been diagnosed with elevated blood pressure.
Source: Zhou QB, Xia WH, Ren J, Yu BB, Tong XZ, Chen YB, Chen S, Feng L, Dai J, Tao J, Yang JY. Effect of Intensive Periodontal Therapy on Blood Pressure and Endothelial Microparticles in Patients With Prehypertension and Periodontitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Periodontol. 2017 Aug;88(8):711-722. doi: 10.1902/jop.2017.160447. Epub 2017 Apr 28. PubMed PMID: 28452620.