High blood pressure affects 30-45% of adults and is the leading global cause of premature death, while gum disease (periodontitis) affects more than 50% of the world’s population.
High blood pressure is the main preventable cause of cardiovascular disease, and periodontitis has been linked with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
In a recent study from UCL Eastman Dental Institute, researchers found people with this gum have a greater risk of high blood pressure.
The study is published in Cardiovascular Research. The lead author is Professor Francesco D’Aiuto of UCL Eastman Dental Institute.
The team reviewed 81 published findings from 26 countries. It compiled the best available evidence to examine the odds of high blood pressure in patients with moderate and severe gum disease.
They found the average 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.
Previous research has shown an average of 5 mmHg blood pressure rise would be linked to a 25% increased risk of death from a heart attack or stroke.
In addition, moderate-to-severe periodontitis was linked to a 22% raised risk for hypertension, while severe periodontitis was linked with 49% higher odds of high blood pressure.
The team says there is a linear association—the more severe periodontitis is, the higher the probability of high blood pressure.
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.
The researchers say that dental treatment might improve blood pressure. This will be tested in future studies.
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