From: American Academy of Periodontology
Patients taking high blood pressure medication benefit from frequent dental care
Chicago--Many patients putting off a trip to the dentist can add "a reason to go" to their list.
A study released today in the Journal of Periodontology suggests that frequent dental visits following initial periodontal treatment may significantly reduce gingival overgrowth in patients taking nifedipine, a commonly prescribed medication for high blood pressure. Gingival overgrowth is a condition in which the gums become swollen and "grow over" the teeth.
"This is good news for the 20 to 40 percent of patients taking nifedipine who experience discomfort from recurring gingival overgrowth and rely on nifedipine to control their high blood pressure," said Robert Genco, D.D.S., Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Periodontology. "Swollen gums can be painful, unsightly and interfere with speech, eating, and everyday brushing and flossing."
The study found that gingival overgrowth recurrence was eliminated in more than half of patients with a combination of initial periodontal therapy, including surgical and non-surgical treatments, followed by more frequent dental visits (every three months). This regimen appeared to affect recurrence more than previously known risk factors, such as gender, drug type, and duration of drug therapy.
"Overgrown gums make it easier for bacteria to accumulate and attack supporting structures of the teeth, which can lead to severe periodontal infection," explained Jack Caton, D.D.S., M.S., president of the American Academy of Periodontology. "And we know that periodontal infection may be a risk factor for more serious conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and pre-term, low birth weight babies, so it's more important now than ever for patients to take care of their periodontal health."
These study findings are a significant advancement to earlier research, which concluded that the development and recurrence of gingival overgrowth could be minimized, but not prevented, with periodontal therapy and frequent dental visits.
"For patients who don't have the option of switching medications to control their high blood pressure, minimized isn't good enough," said Caton. "Today's health- and esthetic-conscious consumers are looking for treatments and medications to proactively protect their bodies and appearance with few or no side effects. Patients can help accomplish this goal by always informing their health care providers of any changes in overall health or medications."
A free brochure entitled Ask Your Periodontist About Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease is available by calling 1-800-FLOSS-EM or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The AAP's Web site at www.perio.org can provide more information and a referral to a nearby periodontist.
The AAP is a 7,000-member organization of dentists specializing in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of tissues surrounding the teeth and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontics is one of eight specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.
Editor's Note: For a copy of the full study or more information about this press release, call Amanda Widtfeldt at 312-573-3243 or e-mail email@example.com. You can click the links that follow to save TIFF files of the top photo and bottom photo on this page.