The link between hypertension and oral health

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There is a strong correlation between the risk of high blood pressure and oral health. If it is degraded, especially in the case of periodontitis, it is necessary to intervene vigorously.

Periodontitis is inflammation of the periodontium, the supporting tissues of the tooth made up primarily of the gum and jawbone. It usually starts with inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), which progresses to the bone, forming infected pockets between the gum and the tooth. This disease must be approached with great seriousness, and this for two major reasons. The first is that it can lead to loosening and loss of one or more teeth. The second is that it can cause harm from a distance, especially by increasing the risk of cardiovascular problems. Why? Because the inflammatory and infectious process can affect other organs, including the arteries, heart and lungs.

To prevent periodontitis, strict oral hygiene is essential (brushing teeth twice a day, periodic visit to the dentist). To treat it, and beyond medication (antibiotics), a thorough cleaning of the teeth, roots and gums removes diseased tissues (gingivectomy), while an intervention allows them to be reshaped (gingivoplasty).

As for the link with cardiovascular disease, a British team (University College London) confirms the close association between periodontitis and high blood pressure. To do this, specialists compared blood pressure figures within a representative sample of the population.

First, it turns out that high blood pressure is twice as common in severe periodontitis. Then, when we take into account all the degrees of periodontitis, we observe that these patients generally present a higher blood pressure than those who do not suffer from it: + 3.36 mmHg for systolic pressure and + 2.26 mmHg for the diastolic.

It should be noted that these differences are independent of classic risk factors for hypertension, such as age, body mass index (BMI) or smoking, knowing that tobacco and excess weight are also factors of risk of periodontitis.

In any case, the authors of this study recall the crucial importance of good oral hygiene, and they add that in the event of periodontitis, it is essential to contact a dentist to consider the necessary measures, and at the same time to start careful monitoring of the development of blood pressure.