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October 11, 2019

How Gum Disease is Linked to Hypertension

A man covering his heart with his hand.If you are part of the nearly 65 million American adults who have a mild, moderate, or severe form of periodontitis, the more advanced stage of gum disease, you’ll want to keep reading. According to new research coming out of the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension, there’s evidence that your risk for hypertension goes up when you have gum disease.

A dentist in Creve Coeur wants to summarize the details of this study and emphasize why it’s so important to get your gum disease treated if you do in fact have it. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the early or late stages, you should always get treatment. Doing so could mean the difference between your future heart treatment being successful or leading to potential complications!

The American Heart Association’s Study, Explained

The study focuses on 11,750 U.S. adults who both completed health surveys and underwent dental exams between the years of 2009 and 2014. The goal was to find out if gum disease had any effect on blood pressure control. According to these results, 3,626 patients had reported being in treatment for high blood pressure, while just over half had gum disease based on results from their dental visit.

After a detailed analysis, researched found that:

  • Among participants with high blood pressure, those who also had gum disease had 2.3-3 mmHg higher systolic blood pressure than those with healthy gums.
  • Patients with gum disease were less likely to have their blood pressure under control under medication than those with good oral health.
  • The more severe the gum disease, the more likely it was their blood pressure treatment would fail.

Why These Studies Matter for Hypertension

It’s currently estimated that one in three U.S. adults is living with high blood pressure and less than half have their condition under control. According to the AHA study, having gum disease can impact your treatment outcome if you currently have high blood pressure. They also show that treatments may not be as effective if you have gum disease.

It’s important to keep in mind that an average 5 mmHg blood pressure increase is linked to a 25 percent higher risk of death due to ischemic heart disease and stroke. We also know that, according to a review published in the European Society of Cardiology’s Journal Cardiovascular Research:

  • Moderate-to-severe periodontitis was associated with a 22 percent increase in the risk for hypertension
  • Severe periodontitis was linked with 49 percent higher odds of hypertension.

Gum Disease and Chronic Inflammation

The reason why dentists and cardiovascular experts agree that gum disease treatment is so important is because of its ability to increase the presence of inflammation in the body. Inflammation, which is the body’s way of protecting itself from infection, illness, and injury, can cause heart-related issues. Gum disease only increases the amount of plaque within the body, especially plaque typically exclusive to the mouth. This plaque is able to travel through the gums and into the bloodstream, contributing to plaque buildup. Experts believe inflammation from gum disease may trigger or worsen inflammation in other parts of the body, such as in the blood vessels and arteries. If you already have high blood pressure, it’s extremely important that you take the necessary steps to catch and treat gum disease if you have it, regardless of how serious it may be.

About Feigenbaum Dental

At Feigenbaum Dental, the dentists are more than prepared to help you treat all levels of gum disease. Not only does doing so protect your oral health, but your overall health as well. If you or a family member has gum disease and you know that they also have issues related to their heart, don’t hesitate to give our office a call!

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11722 Studt Avenue
Creve Coeur, MO 63141
(314) 567-1777