"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.
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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.”
» RELATED: Study: If you have high blood pressure at doctor's office, you're twice as likely to die from heart disease