People With Gum Disease More Likely To Have High Blood Pressure

Having gum disease or periodontitis has been linked to high blood pressure. Researchers found that the infection could increase the risk of hypertension by nearly 50 percent, which may contribute to serious health problems. 

The new study, published in the journal Cardiovascular Research, adds to the growing evidence of the association of periodontitis and cardiovascular disease. Previous research suggested the infection plays a role in heart attack and stroke.

To date, periodontitis affects more than 50 percent of the world's population, according to the latest study. The figure is almost close to that of high blood pressure, which is estimated to be present in up to 45 percent of adults, MedicalXpress reported Tuesday.

"We observed a linear association,” Francesco D'Aiuto, senior study author and a professor at UCL Eastman Dental Institute in the United Kingdom, said. “The more severe periodontitis is, the higher the probability of hypertension.” 

The people with gum disease should stay physically active to manage their blood pressure. Researchers said their increased risk of hypertension also makes them more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. 

The findings come from the analysis of 81 earlier studies conducted in 26 countries. The researchers looked into the prevalence of high blood pressure in people with moderate to severe gum disease. 

They found that those who experienced moderate infection had a 22 percent increased risk of elevated blood pressure. Meanwhile, the people who were diagnosed with severe periodontitis had 49 percent higher risk of hypertension. 

Gum disease was linked to higher arterial blood pressure in both groups. The patients showed 4.5 mmHg higher systolic and 2 mmHg higher diastolic blood pressures. 

"The differences are not negligible," Eva Munoz Aguilera, lead study author from UCL Eastman Dental Institute, said. "An average 5 mmHg blood pressure rise would be linked to a 25 percent increased risk of death from heart attack or stroke."

The researchers said oral bacteria potentially increases inflammation throughout the body of people with gum disease. The inflammation then affects their blood vessel function, which could trigger an increase in blood pressure. 

However, they noted more studies are required to understand how gum disease directly contributes to hypertension. Future research would also focus on the effects of gum treatment could help manage blood pressure levels.

Teeth Researchers found that a severe periodontitis could increase risk of hypertension by 49 percent. Pixabay