Avoid high blood pressure with healthy gums
According to a recent study, when people suffer from severe gum disease, they appear to increase the risk of high blood pressure en masse. The link between high blood pressure and periodontal disease shows the importance of proper care of your teeth.
Adults with periodontitis (inflammation of the periodontium) appear to have a significantly increased risk of high blood pressure, according to a study by researchers from University College London. The study was published in the English-language journal Hypertension.
Relationship between high blood pressure and periodontal disease
Periodontitis is an infection of the gum tissue or gums that hold teeth. Periodontitis can cause inflammation, bone or tooth loss, experts warn. Previous studies have shown an association between high blood pressure and periodontitis, but according to the researchers, there have been almost no studies that shed light on the details of this association.
500 participants examined
The current study included 250 adult participants with generalized, severe periodontal disease and a control group of 250 adults who did not have severe gum disease. All participants were otherwise healthy and had no chronic health complaints. The mean age of the participants was 35 years and 52.6% were women.
Dental plaque and bleeding gums were examined
All participants underwent extensive periodontal examinations, including detailed measurements of the severity of gum disease, such as plaque throughout the mouth, bleeding gums, and depth of gum pockets.
In addition, the blood pressure values of all participants were measured three times to ensure accuracy. In addition, fasting blood samples were taken and analyzed for high levels of white blood cells and an extremely sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP), both of which are indicators of increased levels of inflammation in the body, the researchers said.
Additional information analyzed included a family history of cardiovascular disease, age, body mass index, gender, nationality, smoking and physical activity, the team added.
Gum disease increased the risk of hypertension
The researchers found that the diagnosis of gum disease was associated with a higher chance of high blood pressure regardless of common cardiovascular risk factors. People with gum disease were twice as likely to have high systolic blood pressure (40140 mm Hg) as people with healthy gums (14 percent vs. 7 percent).
Effects of gingivitis
The team also found that the presence of active gingivitis (indicated by bleeding gums) was associated with higher systolic blood pressure. Participants with periodontitis also had higher levels of glucose, LDL (unhealthy cholesterol), hsCRP and white blood cells, as well as lower levels of HDL (healthy cholesterol) compared to those in the control group.
Periodontal bacteria cause inflammatory reactions
“These findings show that periodontal bacteria damage the gums and also cause inflammatory reactions that can affect the development of systemic diseases including high blood pressure,” said study author Professor Dr. Francesco D’Aiuto of the UCL Eastman Dental Institute.
“This would mean that the link between gum disease and high blood pressure occurs long before a patient develops hypertension. “Our study also confirms that an extremely alarming number of people are unaware of a possible diagnosis of high blood pressure.”
Improving the diagnosis of high blood pressure and periodontal disease
Professor Dr. D’Aiuto continues, “Integrating professional high blood pressure dental checkup with GP referrals and periodontal disease control by periodontal referrals could improve the detection and treatment of both conditions to improve oral health and reduce the weight of high blood pressure reduce its complications. “
Brush your teeth twice a day to protect against high blood pressure
“Oral health strategies such as brushing your teeth twice a day have proven to be very effective in treating and preventing the most common oral diseases and the results of our study show that they can also be an effective and cost-effective way to prevention of high blood pressure “explains Professor Dr. D’Aiuto.
This is why periodontal disease must be treated
Prevention and treatment of periodontal disease is cost-effective and, according to researchers, can lead to a reduction in systemic markers of inflammation and improved endothelial function (a thin membrane that lines the inside of the heart and blood vessels).
“People with gum disease often have high blood pressure, especially if they have active gingivitis or bleeding gums,” said study author Eva Muñoz Aguilera of the UCL Eastman Dental Institute in London in a press release from the American Heart Association. Many people may not be aware that they have high blood pressure and are at increased risk for cardiovascular complications, as high blood pressure usually remains asymptomatic.
Limitations of the study
This study ignored other factors that could also affect blood pressure, such as abdominal obesity, salt intake, use of anti-inflammatory drugs, hormone treatments, stress or other oral health conditions, the team added. (as)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of the specific medical literature, medical instructions and current studies and has been reviewed by medical professionals.
- Eva Muñoz Aguilera, Jean Suvan, Marco Orlandi, Queralt Miró Catalina, Jose Nart et al .: Association between periodontitis and hypertension indicated in systematically healthy individuals, hypertension (veröffentlicht 29.03.2021), hypertension
- American Heart Association: People with severe gum disease may be twice as likely to have high blood pressure (veröffentlicht 29.03.2021), AHA
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-medication. It can not replace a visit to the doctor.