Scientists from the London College of Eastman Dental Institute (UCL Eastman Dental Institute) compared the health of 250 adults with severe periodontitis (inflammation of the tissue that envelops the apex of the tooth) and 250 volunteers without gum problems. The average age of the participants was 35 years.
It turned out that participants with gum disease were twice as likely to have elevated systolic blood pressure (140 mmHg) compared to the control group, regardless of the risk of cardiovascular disease. Systolic or upper pressure is the force with which oxygenated blood is pushed out of the heart and diverted through the body. In addition, volunteers with periodontitis had increased inflammatory markers, glucose and bad cholesterol levels.
“These data indicate that periodontal bacteria are causing gum damage as well as inflammatory responses that can influence the development of systemic diseases, including high blood pressure,” the study authors said.
Analysis of the data showed that about half of the volunteers had no idea that they were suffering from high blood pressure. Therefore, scientists recommend that dentists check the pressure level of patients with gum disease and, if necessary, refer them to a specialized specialist. In addition, prevention and timely treatment of such oral conditions can be a simple and effective way to reduce systemic inflammation and improve endothelial function – the thin lining within the heart and blood vessels.
Scientists from Qatar have previously stated that gum disease may increase the risk of complications from COVID-19. They analyzed data from 568 patients with coronavirus and found that 45% of them were diagnosed with various inflammations. After adjusting the data for age, gender, weight and bad habits and chronic diseases, it turned out that patients with problematic gums have more than three times the risk of complications from COVID-19. These patients are 4.5 times more likely to get on a ventilator and almost nine times more likely to die.