Is there a link between gum disease and hypertension?

Health, Fitness & Food
link between gum disease and hypertension

Recently researchers established the linearly related link between gum disease and hypertension.

High blood pressure is a complex disease that affects almost 45% of the population worldwide. Some previous observations suggest that one of the factors that could be involved in blood pressure elevation is gum disease, known as periodontitis.

To assess the link between gum disease and hypertension, researchers from the UK analyzed patients’ data of 81 studies from 26 countries and assess the odds of high blood pressure in patients with moderate to severe gum disease. The results were published in the journal of the European Society of Cardiology, Cardiovascular Research.

Researchers observed a higher probability of high blood pressure in people who had gum disease. The likelihood of having high blood pressure was linearly related to the severity of periodontitis. People with more severe gum disease had greater chances of also being hypertensive. Severe periodontitis was associated with a 49% risk increase.

The study found that patients with periodontitis had a higher average blood pressure than patients without the disease. Systolic blood pressure was higher on average 4.5 mmHg and diastolic on 2 mmHg. These differences are considered significant, as just a 5mmHg blood pressure rise could be linked to a 25% higher probability of having a heart attack or stroke.

The possible link between gum disease and hypertension could be explained by the reaction of the body to the most common periodontitis bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis, which is associated with an inflammatory reaction, including blood vessels. Other factors that could play a role include genetic factors, smoking, and obesity.

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

Five out of 12 reviewed studies showed that blood pressure was reduced after the treatment of periodontitis, including people with a healthy blood pressure level. However, the evidence is not conclusive as blood pressure was not the primary outcome.

Further studies are needed to assess how the treatment of periodontitis affects the link between gum disease and hypertension.

Written by Anna Otvodenko

References:

Muñoz Aguilera, E., Suvan, J., Buti, J., Czesnikiewicz-Guzik, M., Barbosa Ribeiro, A., Orlandi, M., Guzik, T., Hingorani, A., Nart, J. and D’Aiuto, F. (2019). Periodontitis is associated with hypertension: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Cardiovascular Research.

EurekAlert!. (2019). Gum disease linked with higher risk of hypertension. [online] Available at: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-09/esoc-gdl092019.php [Accessed 30 Sep. 2019].

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