Study questions effect of periodontal therapy on hypertension
LONDON, UK: The discussion around a link between periodontitis and hypertension is not new. Acknowledging this and the fact that there is still not enough evidence to establish a causal connection, authors of a recent study which investigates the correlation believe that more randomised tests are needed to determine the impact of periodontal therapy.
In the meta-data study, a team of scientists from University College London (UCL) Eastman Dental Institute examined the results from a total of 81 papers from 26 countries to see whether there was a clear connection between periodontitis and hypertension. Speaking about the results, lead author Prof. Francesco D’Aiuto of the periodontology unit at UCL said, “We observed a linear association—the more severe periodontitis is, the higher the probability of hypertension. The findings suggest that patients with gum disease should be informed of their risk and given advice on lifestyle changes to prevent high blood pressure such as exercise and a healthy diet.”
Despite this connection, D’Aiuto believes that the treatment process is more complex than just periodontal therapy. In the results, it showed that only five out of 12 interventional studies included in the review had a reduction in blood pressure after periodontal treatment and that changes occurred even in people with healthy blood pressure levels.
“The evidence suggesting periodontal therapy could reduce blood pressure remains inconclusive. In nearly all intervention studies, blood pressure was not the primary outcome. Randomised trials are needed to determine the impact of periodontal therapy on blood pressure,” explained D’Aiuto.
However, despite the jury still being out on the effects of periodontal therapy on patients with hypertension, periodontitis is still affecting more than 50% of the world’s population and high blood pressure is the leading cause of premature death. With this in mind, D’Aiuto noted that it was prudent to provide oral health advice to those with hypertension.
The study, titled “Periodontitis is associated with hypertension: A systematic review and meta-analysis”, was published online on 24 September 2019 in Cardiovascular Research, ahead of inclusion in an issue.