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Periodontitis Linked to Elevated Blood Pressure

Studies show that periodontitis may be associated with elevated systolic blood pressure in otherwise healthy individuals, according to research published in Hypertension. Periodontal diseases including gingivitis and periodontitis are among the most common dental diseases after tooth decay in humans. Periodontal diseases are characterized by inflammation of tooth-supporting tissues caused by bacterial infection.

The Study Shows:

Researchers compared 250 patients with periodontitis to 250 other patients to investigate the relationship between inflammatory gum disease and BP. Researchers assessed the association between periodontal measures and BP, and further investigated the role of systemic inflammation.

People with periodontitis were associated with greater odds of systolic BP of at least 140 mm Hg. Inflammation is an essential component of the immune response to pathogens, damaged cells, and other potent inflammatory stimuli including reactive oxygen radicals. 

Francesco D’Aiuto, PhD, DMD, head of the periodontology unit at Eastman Dental Institute, University College London, said in a release. “This would mean that the link between gum disease and elevated blood pressure occurs well before a patient develops high blood pressure. … 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.”

How Can Periodontitis Affect Me?

When you do not get proper treatment while you have this disease the results can be extremely detrimental in a variety of ways. First and foremost, since periodontitis damages the soft tissue of your gums, it leads to the destruction of the bones it’s supposed to protect. This is a snowball effect, once your tissue and bones start to decompose, your teeth have a much higher possibility of loosening and even potentially falling out. 

The disease doesn’t always stop with your oral health. If the bacteria get out of control, it can spread into your bloodstream through the weakened tissue. Issues including respiratory disease, heart disease, stroke, and increased issues with diabetes can all be linked to periodontal disease. 

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