Gum Disease Linked to High Blood Pressure:
People with poor oral health appear to have a harder time controlling their high blood pressure (Hypertension, Oct. 22, 2018). The investigators reviewed data from the US National Health and Examination Survey (NHANES). In the process, they found that about half of the participants had gum disease. The worse the periodontal disease, the harder it was to manage high blood pressure.
Among people taking blood pressure medicine, gum disease raised the systolic measurement by 2 to 3 mm Hg. (Millimeters of mercury are the standard measure of blood pressure.) In addition, treatment of periodontal disease reduced the likelihood of antihypertensive treatment failure.
Don’t Count on Mouthwash Against Gum Disease:
Periodontal therapy may have to go beyond swishing and rinsing. Back in 2010, the FDA warned mouthwash manufacturers not to claim that their products could prevent or treat gum disease. The makers of Listerine Total Care Anticavity Mouthwash, CVS Complete Care Anticavity Mouthwash and Walgreen Mouth Rinse Full Action were chastised for advertising that their products can remove plaque or prevent periodontal disease. In summary, the FDA says that consumers can use these products to reduce the likelihood of developing cavities but there is no reliable data to suggest that they will protect gums.
What Can You Do About Gum Disease?
The basics are simple: brush and floss at least twice a day. Beyond that, your dentist (or periodontist, if you have one) will recommend tools such as soft bristle picks or water picks to use between the teeth. Providing the gums with gentle stimulation may improve circulation and help them fight off infection. Sometimes periodontal infections require antibiotic treatment. On the other hand, conscientious oral hygiene can go a long way toward keeping gums healthy. Here is the Medline Plus information.