Periodontitis (Gum Disease) Linked to High Blood Pressure Interview with:

Francesco D’Aiuto Professor/Hon Consultant Head of Periodontology Unit UCL Eastman Dental Institute

Prof. D’Aiuto

Francesco D’Aiuto
Professor/Hon Consultant
Head of Periodontology Unit
UCL Eastman Dental Institute What is the background for this study?

Response: This study was set out to further our understanding of the link between gum disease and high blood pressure. Recent evidence suggested that individuals with gum disease had a 20-70% increased risk of hypertension and systemic inflammation seemed to be a driver in mediating this association. Further research on the matter was needed. We recruited two relatively large groups of otherwise healthy participants (without a confirmed diagnosis of hypertension) who had gum disease one and healthy gums the other.

We found that diagnosis of periodontitis (gum disease) was consistently linked to higher systolic blood pressure independent of other cardiovascular risk factors. What are the main findings?

  • Cases with severe gum disease had higher systolic (plus 3.36 mm Hg) and diastolic (plus 2.16 mm Hg) blood pressure values when compared to healthy controls.
  • Of the 250 cases with gum disease 35 were shown to have high systolic blood pressure (>140 mm Hg) whilst only 19 out of 250 of the controls showed the same. This means having periodontitis could raise your risk of high systolic blood pressure by 203%.
  • The presence of active gum inflammation (identified by generalised bleeding gums) was associated with 5 mm Hg higher mean systolic blood pressure. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Patients with periodontitis but otherwise healthy exhibit higher mean blood pressure levels and are twice as likely to have high blood pressure compared with individuals with healthy gums.

Bleeding gums was associated with higher mean SBP

Undetected hypertension was a common finding among the population of study What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Future directions and broad implications of this work will involve dental and medical health professionals communicate more to raise awareness of the increased risk for high blood pressure among individuals with periodontal diseases. Main steps will involve:

  1. Implementing hypertension screening systems by dental professionals and periodontal diseases screening systems by medical professionals.
  2. Promoting early diagnosis and management of gum diseases for improving oral and systemic health.
  3. Further and larger multicentre randomised trials to test the effects on the treatment of periodontitis on blood pressure levels and its complications. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: We would like to acknowledge that contribution of this work was undertaken at UCLH/UCL who received a proportion of funding from the Department of Health’s NIHR Biomedical Research Centre funding schem


Association Between Periodontitis and Blood Pressure Highlighted in Systemically Healthy Individuals
Eva Muñoz Aguilera, Jean Suvan, Marco Orlandi, Queralt Miró Catalina, Jose Nart, Francesco D’Aiuto

Originally published29 Mar 2021 ;0:HYPERTENSIONAHA.120.16790



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Last Updated on March 30, 2021 by Marie Benz MD FAAD