Severe Gum Disease Poses Risk of High Blood Pressure

Here we go again with a new, compelling reason to take care of your teeth.

Reviewing 81 studies involving more than 250,000 individuals, UK scientists determined that people with moderate-to-severe gum disease (periodontitis) have a 22% increased risk of high blood pressure. Those with more severe periodontal disease were found to have a 49% higher risk.

In research reported in the September 24th issue of the journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), Cardiovascular Research, findings included that arterial blood pressure was higher in patients with gum disease, equating to a 4.5 mmHG higher systolic and 2 mmHg higher diastolic reading. The researchers note that an average 5 mmHg blood pressure increase would equate to a 25% increased risk of death from heart attack or stroke.

Lead author Professor Francesco D’Aiuto, from the University College London Eastman Dental Institute in the U.K., concludes that “management of periodontitis could impact on the management of hypertension”  and that there is a “potential to improve cardiovascular outcomes by addressing poor oral health in the general population.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease. The organization also notes that periodontal disease increases with age, with 70.1% of adults 65 years and older experiencing periodontal disease.

Mild-to-moderate gum disease (gingivitis) can be controlled with regular professional cleaning and good oral hygiene. At the Pennsylvania Center for Dental Implants and Periodontics, we often treat moderate-to-severe forms of gum disease with the FDA-approved LANAP® laser treatment, which zaps unhealthy gum tissue and leaves behind healthy tissue.