People with gum disease more likely to have high blood pressure, study says

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European researchers recently explored the link between periodontitis and hypertension

If you’ve got gum disease, your hypertension risk could be greater, according to a new report.

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Researchers from University College London recently conducted a study, published in the European Society of Cardiology journal, to explore the association between periodontitis, or gum disease, and high blood pressure.

To do so, they mulled over 81 studies from 26 countries that evaluated patients with the two conditions.

After analyzing the data, they found moderate-to-severe periodontitis was linked with a 22% higher hypertension risk, while severe periodontitis was linked with 49% higher risk.

"We observed a positive linear relationship, with the hazard of high blood pressure rising as gum disease became more severe," lead author Eva Munoz said in a statement.

The team also said five of 12 intervention studies they reviewed showed a reduction in high blood pressure once the gum disease was treated. They noted the changes even occurred in those with healthy blood pressure.

» RELATED: 'Strong evidence' links gum disease to Alzheimer's, study says

But despite their results, “the evidence suggesting periodontal therapy could reduce blood pressure remains inconclusive,” said senior author Francesco D'Aiuto.

“In nearly all intervention studies, blood pressure was not the primary outcome. Randomised trials are needed to determine the impact of periodontal therapy on blood pressure,” he continued.

Although the scientists do not fully understand the relationship between gum disease and high blood pressure, they hypothesized genetics could play a role. They also said the two conditions have some of the same risk factors, including obesity and smoking.

They now hope to continue their investigations to “examine whether patients with high blood pressure have a raised likelihood of gum disease,” D’Aiuto concluded. “It seems prudent to provide oral health advice to those with hypertension.”

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