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Fast Facts - Hypertension and Periodontitis: A Causal Link

Fast Facts

Fast Facts: Perio Edition Episode 25
[Andrew Johnston, RDH]
Welcome back,  everyone. You are listening to another episode of Fast Facts- Perio Edition brought to you by A Tale of Two Hygienists in partnership with DentistRX. And now, please welcome your host, Katrina Sanders.
[Katrina Sanders, RDH]
Hello and welcome to Fast Facts: Perio Edition. Ladies and gentlemen, we have some incredible information that has come down from Hypertension, a journal issued by the American Heart Association in March of 2021.
This episode is going to be unpacking new information that we are understanding about the interdependent relationship between perio and hypertension. In Hypertension editorial components, we, of course, knew for a long time that there have been links between inflammation, particularly gum disease and systemic diseases. However, the newest research coming out has now indicated that there is a growing body of evidence citing a causal link between periodontitis and hypertension. More specifically, it's suggested that periodontal bacteria, as we know, can trigger an inflammatory response. However, what the University College London Eastman Dental Institute identified is that that inflammatory response contributes to the development of hypertension. It was postulated that this could mean that there is a link between gum disease and elevated blood pressure and even more specifically, a few key points of the study that we should be mindful of. Number one, the median age of participants in this study was 35. What we found specifically in the study is that the link between gum disease and elevated blood pressure occurs well before a patient develops high blood pressure.
The study itself found that patients with severe perio, stage three and stage four gum disease were 2x more likely to have an elevated systolic blood pressure and 50% more likely to also have elevated diastolic blood pressures. In fact, what we saw in this study was that high blood pressure readings were correlated with the severity of gum disease. So the more severe the gum disease, the more elevated those blood pressure readings indicated.
Finally, one of the important key indicators that I found to be extremely interesting is the fact that this elevated blood pressure, although usually asymptomatic, was occurring in individuals that were otherwise unaware that they were at an increased risk of cardiovascular complications.
The authors of this particular study concluded “integration of hypertension screening by dental professionals with referrals to primary care professionals and periodontal disease screening by medical professionals with referrals to periodontists could improve detection and treatment of both conditions to improve oral health and reduce the burden of hypertension and its complications.”
Mic drop you guys. Have a great week, everybody.
This has been another episode of Fast Facts - Perio Edition with Katrina Sanders, RDH. Please feel free to reach me on Instagram @thedentalwinegenist or on my website Cheers.
[Andrew Johnston, RDH]
Thank you for listening to another episode of Fast Facts - Perio Edition, brought to you in part by DentistRX makers of the InteliSonic line of power brushes. Find out more by visiting their website at We'll see you next week for another Fast Fact!

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