Unhealthy gums could be the source of high blood pressure

The researchersUniversity College London compared 250 adults with severe periodontitis to 250 healthy adults. The average age of the subjects was 35 years.

Participants with gum disease were twice as likely to have a systolic pressure of 140 mmHg or more than those with healthy gums.

It’s not yesterday that we realized that bacteria in the mouth can do more than damage teeth and gums., recalled Prof. Fatiha Chandad, who heads the Oral Ecology Research Group at Laval University.

There is an accumulation of data on the link between oral health and cardiometabolic disease, which includes everything related to cardiovascular disease., she stressed.

The new study is all the more interesting, she continues, as the subjects were relatively young. We can therefore think that the hypertension detected in some was not due to other health problems, such as overweight.

Despite everything, there is still a lot of education to be done with the public, health professionals and oral health professionals, who are sometimes poorly informed about the systemic effects that these bacteria can have.

A doctor who meets a hypertensive patient will probably not have the first instinct to take an interest in his oral health., said Dr. Chandad, and even some dentists won’t necessarily make the connection between oral health and other health issues.

It’s a debate between dental schools and medical schools, did she say. Residents are exposed to this kind of problem in certain (medical) specialties, but it is definitely not the first thing a family doctor will check for a diagnosis (hypertension).

On the dentist side, periodontists who specialize in gum disease will be the most aware of this contact between the bacteria that inhabit pockets […] in the gum tissue and which can be transmitted through the blood, added Dr. Chandad.

But I wouldn’t think it’s common for a general practitioner to advise his patient to go see his dentist, did she say.

The findings of this study were published by the medical journal Hypertension (New window) (in English).

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