In our Oregon City Dentistry blog, we’ve often covered how our oral health can impact our overall health. While it’s easy to think of our oral health as only having to do with our teeth and gums, years worth of research has shown this simply isn’t the case. Today, researchers know that our oral health plays a significant role in determining the overall health of our bodies.
Studies have shown that patients experience common oral health problems, such as tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss, have a significantly higher risk for developing a range of chronic health problems that includes everything from heart disease and diabetes to arthritis and stroke.
Now, a new study, conducted by researchers from the University of L’Aquila in Italy, has discovered that gum disease may actually interfere with high blood pressure control.
The results of this study were published in the journal Hypertension.
Gum Disease’s Impact on Blood Pressure
As part of their study, researchers examined dental and medical records of over 3,600 patients who had previously received a high blood pressure diagnosis.
When compared to those with good oral health, those with gum disease were less likely to respond to medications designed to treat high blood pressure and 20 percent less likely to achieve healthy blood pressure goals, reported researchers.
“Physicians should pay close attention to patient’s oral health, particularly those receiving treatment for hypertension (high blood pressure), and urge those with signs of periodontal disease to seek dental care,” wrote researchers.
While the study only found an association, the findings did suggest that patients with gum disease may require closer blood pressure monitoring, while those with high blood pressure could benefit from more frequent dental care, reported the research team.
“Patients with high blood pressure and the clinicians who care for them should be aware that good oral health may play just as important a role in helping to control high blood pressure as certain types of lifestyle changes that are known to help control blood pressure,” wrote researchers in a press release.
Across the globe, high blood pressure impacts the lives of up to 40 percent of the world’s population 25 and over. When left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney disease.
The Importance of Quality Oral Health
As research continues to stress the dangers of ignoring our oral health, the importance of brushing and flossing daily, along with scheduling regular cleanings and exams with our team at Oregon City Dentistry, has become more important than ever. Failing to practice quality oral hygiene at home or not receiving the dental care needed to prevent the development of cavities has far more reaching consequences that just impact the state of our smiles.
To enjoy a healthy body and smile, it’s vital that patients give their oral health just as much attention as their heart, kidney and even mental health. Don’t underestimate the importance of what quality oral health could mean to your long-term health. Contact our office today to schedule your next dental exam and cleaning with Dr. Johnson.