Can Poor Oral Health Habits Increase Hypertension?

A recent study suggests that poor oral hygiene habits may lead to increased incidences of hypertension. It also suggests that periodontitis and hypertension may be linked by way of inflammation and blood pressure elevation.

The study Associations Among Oral Hygiene Behavior and Hypertension Prevalence and Control took a look at data from 19,560 people in the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The Korean researchers evaluated the participants daily frequency of tooth brushing and their use of oral health products such as mouthwash, dental floss, electric toothbrushes and interdental brushes. The results were published in the Journal of Periodontology.

The Results

  • The researchers diagnosed high blood pressure in 5,921 of the participants. It was identified by their use of antihypertensive medication or by an average blood pressure greater than 140/90 mmHg.

  • For the participants that did and did not have periodontitis which is the most severe form of gum disease frequent tooth brushing was discovered to accompany a decreased prevalence of hypertension.

  • The participants with poor oral hygiene habits were found more likely to have higher hypertension frequency.

  • The researchers concluded that oral hygiene may be considered an independent risk factor for hypertension.

  • They also concluded that maintaining good periodontal health habits may prevent and control the condition.


"Although this subject may require further study, the association between hypertension and periodontitis is reminiscent of the link periodontal disease shares with other systemic conditions, including diabetes and heart disease," said Dr. Joan Otomo-Corgel, president of the American Academy of Periodontology. "Literature continues to support the idea that what affects a person's mouth can affect his or her body and vice versa. Taking care of your teeth and gums is as essential to a healthy lifestyle as diet and exercise. Patients with periodontal disease, hypertension, or any other chronic ailments should notify their periodontists and physicians of all of their conditions to ensure well-rounded care."

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