Gum disease linked with higher risk of hypertension

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gum disease hypertension

People with gum disease (periodontitis) have a greater likelihood of high blood pressure (hypertension), according to a new study from the UK. 

Previous research has suggested a connection between periodontitis and hypertension and that dental treatment might improve blood pressure, but to date the findings have been inconclusive.

This study by a team from UCL Eastman Dental Institute, UK—and published in Cardiovascular Research—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 per cent raised risk for hypertension, while severe periodontitis was linked with 49 per cent higher odds of hypertension. 

“We observed a positive linear relationship, with the hazard of high blood pressure rising as gum disease became more severe,” lead author Dr Eva Munoz Aguilera said.

Average arterial blood pressure was higher in patients with periodontitis compared to those without. This amounted to 4.5 mmHg higher systolic and 2 mmHg higher diastolic blood pressures. 

“The differences are not negligible,” Dr Aguilera added.

“An average 5 mmHg blood pressure rise would be linked to a 25 per cent increased risk of death from heart attack or stroke.”

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