Home Hypertension Gum Disease May Raise Hypertension Risk

Gum Disease May Raise Hypertension Risk


People with gum disease may be at increased risk for high blood pressure.

For a study in Cardiovascular Research, researchers combined the results of 81 studies including more than 200,000 people. Using a blood pressure reading of 140/90 or higher as the definition of hypertension, they found that people with a diagnosis of gum disease were 20 percent more likely to have high blood pressure than those with healthy gums.

The more severe the gum disease, the higher the risk for hypertension. A diagnosis of moderate periodontal disease was associated with a 22 percent increased risk of hypertension, and severe gum disease with a 49 percent increased risk.

On average, people with gum disease had a 4.5-point higher systolic blood pressure reading (the top number). A 5-point increase in systolic pressure has been linked to a 25 percent increased risk of death from heart disease or stroke.

Twelve of the studies examined the effect of periodontal treatment, but only five found evidence that treating gum disease would lower blood pressure.

“There is inconclusive evidence about the efficacy of treating gum disease to reduce blood pressure,” said the lead author, Eva Muñoz Aguilera, a senior clinical teaching fellow at University College London. “We need further evidence to confirm that finding.”

About a third of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, and almost half of Americans 30 and older have some degree of gum disease.

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