Written By Kassandra Foreman / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Research has shown that there is a connection between periodontitis - a severe form of gum disease - and high blood pressure even when the person appears to be otherwise healthy. This connection means that where good oral hygiene is practiced and gum disease reduced, there can be a decreased risk of high blood pressure as well.
Gum disease effects
Periodontitis is an infection within the gums and the tissue surrounding the teeth. This leads to increased inflammation mirrored in the tissues lining the inside of the heart and blood vessels. In the gums it can lead to bleeding gums, increased swelling and inflammation, and can cause tooth or bone loss. These effects are then mirrored in other areas of the body with increased signs of inflammation.
It has been noted that patients who have gum disease often show increased blood pressure, and this link is more likely where gums are currently bleeding. "Elevated blood pressure is usually asymptomatic, and many individuals may be unaware that they are at increased risk of cardiovascular complications,” says Eva Munoz Aguilera DDS, UCL Eastman Dental Institute in London. “We aimed to investigate the association between severe periodontitis and high blood pressure in healthy adults without a confirmed diagnosis of hypertension."
Gum disease as a diagnostic tool
The most recent study had 500 adult participants - half of whom had generalized severe periodontitis and half who did not - with an even mix of women and men, all of the median age of 35 years old. They each underwent a detailed and extensive dental exam and had their blood pressure taken both normally and after fasting.
Other tests included cholesterol, white blood cells, and a family history was collected. The results revealed that those with gum disease had higher systolic blood pressure, increased levels of glucose, and higher cholesterol. Almost half of those who had gum disease where found to have hypertension.
As evidence points towards gum disease as a warning sign of high blood pressure it is possible to prepare for a high blood pressure diagnosis before other symptoms are seen and treated faster. Using gum disease as a diagnostic tool can help whole-person care with screening conducted by both dental and health care providers.
"Integration of hypertension screening by dental professionals with referrals to primary care professionals and periodontal disease screening by medical professionals with referrals to periodontists could improve detection and treatment of both conditions to improve oral health and reduce the burden of hypertension and its complications,” added Francesco D'Aiuto, D.M.D., M.Clin.Dent., Ph.D., professor of periodontology and head of the periodontology unit at the UCL Eastman Dental Institute.
These results also show that conducting regular oral care and maintaining the health of teeth and gums can help reduce the risk of developing hypertension. While the most recent studies do not consider all of the possible causes of hypertension it does show a link between gum disease or periodontitis and high blood pressure.
These results point to good oral hygiene as a possible way to decrease the risk of high blood pressure, but also towards those with high blood pressure and having increased inflammation in the gums, which put their teeth at risk.
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Kassandra Foreman has been writing freelance for five years now and enjoys learning about new things to write about. When not writing she teaches yoga and meditation with a focus on health and fitness.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.