Gum disease may cause hypertension warns study – ‘Triggers inflammatory response’

Gum disease may cause hypertension warns study – ‘Triggers inflammatory response’

Children's Oral Health

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Neglecting your oral health can do more than just cause bad breath and bleeding gums. In fact, a new study has shed light on the dangerous health outcomes which may ensue including high blood pressure.

A new study has linked one problem in your mouth to an elevated risk for high blood pressure.

Researchers from the University College London Eastman Dental Institute further researched the link between gum disease and the likelihood of high blood pressure.

The findings were published in the journal of Hypertension.

Researchers investigated 250 healthy adults suffering with severe gum disease and compared it with 250 people who did not have the mouth condition.

According to the study, those with gum disease were twice as likely to have high systolic blood pressure, also known as hypertension, than those with healthy gums.

“This evidence indicates that periodontal bacteria cause damage to the gums and also triggers inflammatory responses that can impact the development of systemic diseases including hypertension,” study author Francesco D’Aiuto, a professor of periodontology, said in a statement.

The study concluded that patients with gum disease were most likely to have elevated blood pressure when there is “active gingival inflammation,” which is bleeding of the gums.

Other symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Painful chewing
  • Receding gums.

The study also found:

  • The presence of active gum inflammation (identified by bleeding gums) was associated with higher systolic blood pressure.
  • Participants with periodontitis exhibited increased glucose, LDL (“bad” cholesterol), hsCRP and white blood cell levels, and lower HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels compared to those in the control group.
  • Nearly 50 percent of participants with gum disease and 42 percent of the control group had blood pressure values for a diagnosis of hypertension, defined as ≥130/80 mmHg.

“Elevated blood pressure is usually asymptomatic, and many individuals may be unaware that they are at increased risk of cardiovascular complications,” added Professor D’Aiuto.

“We aimed to investigate the association between severe periodontitis and high blood pressure in healthy adults without a confirmed diagnosis of hypertension.”

Reducing your risk of gum disease therefore is even more pertinent than just having all round oral health.

This can be achieved by following a routine of brushing your teeth for a full two minutes twice a day, plus cleaning between your teeth with floss or interdental brushes.

It’s also advisable to visit your dentist and dental hygienist regularly for cleaning and check-ups.

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