- Admin By: Admin
- Posted: 11 Jul 2019
Periodontitis or 'gum disease', commonly known as 'pyorrhea', is a condition primarily characterized by inflammation and bleeding of the gums. A periodontitis that, in addition to causing the destruction of the bone mass that supports the teeth and, therefore, to cause the loss of teeth, is associated with an increased risk of life-threatening diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases. In fact, a study carried out by researchers from the Eastman Dental Institute of the University College of London (United Kingdom) shows that periodontitis increases, and much, the risk of high blood pressure. And also, that the treatment of gum disease leads to a significant reduction in blood pressure levels - the benefit being, at least, similar to that achieved with antihypertensive drugs.
As explained by Eva Muñoz Aguilera, director of this research presented in the framework of the EuroPerio 2018 Congress of the European Federation of Periodontics (EFP) which is being held in Amsterdam (Netherlands), «periodontitis and high blood pressure affect millions of people around the world. Diseases that, as shown by different works, are associated independently with a higher incidence of cardiovascular events, thus causing a great impact on public health and health costs. In addition, hypertension and periodontitis share risk factors such as diabetes, unhealthy diet and smoking habits.
Arterial hypertension, that is, the disease defined by blood pressure figures above 140/90 mmHg, is the first cause of global mortality, as warned by the World Health Organization (WHO). Not in vain, up to 75% of the population with hypertension - around 1,100 million people worldwide and more than 14 million Spaniards - presents a not insignificant risk of suffering a stroke, a myocardial infarction or of developing renal disease. Hence the importance, vital, of preventing its appearance or, failing that, of administering treatments to reverse it. And it seems that oral hygiene plays a key role in both senses.
As Eva Muñoz Aguilera indicates, "if we can prove that there is a relationship between periodontitis and hypertension and, furthermore, that this relationship is casual, the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of gum disease would offer us an opportunity to contribute, in turn, to prevent and treat hypertension and avoid the devastating consequences associated with high blood pressure. "
To carry out its review or 'meta-analysis', the authors analyzed the results of 21 clinical trials in which both the risk of developing hypertension after the diagnosis of periodontitis and the possible change in blood pressure levels after the treatment of the disease of the gums.
In the words of the director of the research, "from a biological point of view, the association between periodontitis and hypertension is possible given that the microorganisms that cause inflammation in gum disease can also cause systemic inflammation, thus inducing the damage of the blood vessels. Thus, in our work we wanted to evaluate the possibility of a more causal relationship between both diseases ».