Researchers found that treatment for gum disease, or periodontitis, “significantly lowered” blood pressure among Chinese patients at risk for developing high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart and blood vessel disease.
The study compared blood pressure levels after standard and intensive treatment for gum disease.
The standard treatment included basic oral hygiene instructions and teeth cleaning with plaque removal above the gum line.
The intensive treatment included the standard treatment as well as cleaning down to the roots with local anesthesia, antibiotic treatment and dental extractions, if necessary.
Researchers found that one month after treatment, systolic blood pressure was nearly three points lower in participants receiving intensive treatment, but no significant difference was observed in diastolic blood pressure.
Three months after treatment, systolic blood pressure was nearly eight points lower and diastolic pressure was nearly four points lower in patients receiving intensive treatment.
Six months after treatment, systolic blood pressure was nearly 13 points and diastolic blood pressure was almost 10 points lower in patients receiving intensive treatment.
Study lead author Doctor Jun Tao, of Sun Yat-sen University in China, said: “The present study demonstrates for the first time that intensive periodontal intervention alone can reduce blood pressure levels, inhibit inflammation and improve endothelial function.”
Study participants included 107 Chinese women and men age 18 and over with pre-hypertension and moderate to severe gum disease.
Through random assignment, half of the participants received standard treatment and half received intensive treatment for gum disease.
Dr Tao said that additional research with patients from diverse backgrounds is needed.
The findings were presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Anaheim, California.