Gum Disease Linked to Higher Risk of Hypertension

Recent European study finds a direct link between the severity of periodontitis and the probability of high blood pressure

People with gum disease (periodontitis) have a greater likelihood of high blood pressure (hypertension), according to a study published today in Cardiovascular Research, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Senior author Professor Francesco D’Aiuto of UCL Eastman Dental Institute, UK, said: “We observed a linear association — the more severe periodontitis is, the higher the probability of hypertension. The findings suggest that patients with gum disease should be informed of their risk and given advice on lifestyle changes to prevent high blood pressure such as exercise and a healthy diet.”

Unfortunately, high blood pressure affects 30%-45% of adults today and is the leading global cause of premature death, while periodontitis affects more than 50 percent of the world’s entire population. Hypertension is the main preventable cause of cardiovascular disease, and periodontitis has been linked with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Hypertension could be the driver of heart attack and stroke in patients with periodontitis,” said Professor D’Aiuto. “Previous research suggests a connection between periodontitis and hypertension and that dental treatment might improve blood pressure, but to date the findings are inconclusive.”

This study compiled the best available evidence to examine the odds of high blood pressure in patients with moderate and severe gum disease. A total of 81 studies from 26 countries were included in the meta-analysis.

Moderate-to-severe periodontitis was associated with a 22 percent increased risk for hypertension, while severe periodontitis was linked with 49 percent higher odds of hypertension. Lead author Dr. Eva Munoz Aguilera of UCL Eastman Dental Institute said, “We observed a positive linear relationship, with the hazard of high blood pressure rising as gum disease became more severe.”

SOURCE: Science Daily

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