Eastman Dental Institute


Gum disease linked with higher risk of hypertension

24 September 2019

Checking blood pressure

A new systematic review by UCL Eastman researchers has revealed that people with gum disease (periodontitis) are more likely to have high blood pressure (hypertension). 

Professor Francesco D’Aiuto and colleagues examined 81 studies and found that moderate-to-severe periodontitis was associated with a 22% raised risk for hypertension, while severe periodontitis was linked with 49% higher odds.

High blood pressure affects 30–45% of adults and is the leading global cause of premature death. 

Dr D’Aiuto said: “Gum disease and the associated oral bacteria leads to inflammation throughout the body and this may be increasing the likelihood of high blood pressure – which in turn can drive heart attack and stroke. 

“However, although the previous research suggests such a connection and that periodontal treatment might improve blood pressure, further randomised trials are needed to determine if this is correct. 

“We will also need to examine the possibility that the reverse is true, that patients with high blood pressure are more likely to have gum disease.”

The study, published in Cardiovascular Research, complements other research undertaken by Professor D’Aiuto’s group, who have previously found strong links between periodontitis and other chronic conditions.

A recent study on the link between gum disease and diabetes prompted NHS England and NHS Improvement to produce a new commissioning standard recommending routine gum and dental screening for diabetics. Find out more

Further reading: