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Brushing, Flossing, and the Blood Pressure Link

Posted on by Dr. Axelrad

A recent study has given dentists yet another reason to underscore the importance of brushing and flossing as part of your regular oral hygiene regimen – the link to maintaining healthy blood pressure.

The study, published in the December 2018 issue of Hypertension, journal of the American Heart Association, found a link between persistent high blood pressure in patients who did not respond effectively to medication and periodontal disease. The researchers reported that as oral health declined, systolic blood pressure went up – regardless of whether or not patients were taking medication.

• Hypertensive patients with inflamed gums were 20 percent less likely to be successful in getting their blood pressure back to within healthy limits.
• Patients with poor dental hygiene habits posted systolic blood pressure readings 3mm HG higher on average than those with healthy teeth and gums.

Other studies have linked periodontal or gum disease with kidney disease, along with heart and vascular diseases. It’s a serious issue because the numbers are serious.

• About 4.6 million Canadians between the ages of 20 and 79 – or 19 percent – live with high blood pressure.
• Another 20 percent fall within the prehypertensive range – which can develop into hypertension without treatment.

Essentially, what the researchers found was that poor oral health reversed the effects of blood pressure medications. The study does not mean that periodontal disease causes high blood pressure, however. The authors of the study theorized that gum disease might be just another sign of overall inflammation in the body.

According to the study, “periodontal disease is significantly associated with the worst systolic blood pressure profile during anti-hypertensive therapy.”

The Evidence Is In
The recent study builds on others, including a 2015 Korean study published in the Journal of Periodontology. That survey used data collected between 2008 and 2010 from 19,560 individuals, and found a correlation between tooth brushing and hypertension.

• Patients with poor oral hygiene practices were more likely to have high blood pressure.

“Although this subject may require further study, the association between hypertension and periodontitis is reminiscent of the link periodontal disease shares with other systemic conditions, including diabetes and heart disease,” says Dr. Joan Otomo-Corgel, president of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), in a media release. “Literature continues to support the idea that what affects a person’s mouth can affect his or her body and vice versa. Taking care of your teeth and gums is as essential to a healthy lifestyle as diet and exercise.”

• The bottom line: don’t skip brushing and flossing. It’s essential to your overall good health.

Looking for advice on diet and your oral and dental health? You’ll find the answer at Dr. Robert Axelrad’s Dental Office in Brampton, ON.

If you’re looking for a well-regarded and highly skilled dentist in the Brampton area, make an appointment with Dr. Robert Axelrad by calling (905)-791-3867. Visit our website to learn more about our dental services.