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Severe gum disease linked to high blood pressure, study shows

Maintaining good oral health is vital to keeping gum disease at bay. ISTOCK

Severe gum disease linked to high blood pressure, study shows

Severe gum disease has been found to cause high blood pressure, in turn increasing the risk of grave health complications such as heart-attacks and strokes.

Severe gum disease linked to high blood pressure, study shows

Not looking after your gums could have serious and direct consequences on your overall health, new research shows.

A study in journal Cardiovascular Research finds that gum disease may cause hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, in turn leading to far more greater health complications.

It finds that severe cases of periodontitis – or advanced gum disease – draws a greater risk of hypertension.

“Hypertension could be the driver of heart attack and stroke in patients with periodontitis,” warns senior author Prof. Francesco D’Aiuto.

“Previous research suggests a connection between periodontitis and hypertension and that dental treatment might improve blood pressure, but to date, the findings are inconclusive,” he adds.

Using data from 81 studies across 26 countries, the research found that higher instances of arterial blood pressure were markedly higher in individuals who had periodontitis.

Lead author of the study, Eva Munoz Aguilera, stressed that, “the differences are not negligible. An average 5 mm Hg blood pressure rise would be linked to a 25% increased risk of death from heart attack or stroke”.

Even in less serious cases of gum disease, the knock-on health risks remain:

In moderate-to-severe periodontitis, the researchers found a 22% higher risk of hypertension.

Alarmingly, in cases of severe periodontitis, that figure is as high as 49%.

“We observed a linear association — the more severe periodontitis is, the higher the probability of hypertension,” notes Professor D’Aiuto added.

“The findings suggest that patients with gum disease should be informed of their risk and given advice on lifestyle changes to prevent high blood pressure, such as exercise and a healthy diet.”

Read more: 
Good health starts at the mouth
Top tips on fighting the effects of stress on your oral health
Signs to watch for good oral health
How to get rid of bad breath

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