Do your gums hurt? You may have a heart problem

Gum disease (periodontitis) is the most prevalent pathology in humans. An oral health survey in Spain indicates that between 85% and 94% of the Spanish population over 35 years of age has a problem related to the gums. The issue around this ailment is that it could go beyond our mouth and be associated with an increase in blood pressure.

It should be noted that hypertension (high blood pressure) is known as the silent killer because it usually has no symptoms, but it can cause serious health problems such as strokes, heart failure, heart attack and kidney failure.

A study published in the journal of the European Society of Cardiology, 'Cardiovascular Research' has indicated that there is a linear relationship between suffering from oral diseases and the increase in blood pressure: The more severe the periodontitis, the greater the likelihood of hypertension.

There is a linear relationship: the more severe periodontitis is, the greater the likelihood of hypertension (and associated heart attack)

"Hypertension could be the cause of a heart attack and stroke in patients with periodontitis," Francesco D'Aiuto, one of the study authors and professor at the Eastman Dental Institute at the University of London, explains to 'Dailymail'. "Previous research suggests a connection between periodontitis and hypertension and that dental treatment could improve blood pressure, but so far the findings had not been conclusive, "he says.

"The findings suggest that patients with gum disease should be informed about the risk they have and get advice to change your lifestyle to prevent high blood pressure, such as exercise and a healthy diet, "he says.

Specifically, the study indicates that the Average blood pressure was higher in patients with periodontitis compared to those who did not suffer from it. "This average increase would be related to a 25% growth in the risk of death from heart attack or stroke," said Eva Muñoz Aguilera, another author of the study.

To establish a relationship between periodontitis and hypertension, researchers have collected data from 81 studies from 26 countries. The results showed that moderate to severe gum disease is associated with a 22% increase in the risk of hypertension, while more severe periodontitis was related to the increase by 49%.

The same bacteria inflame the body

The reason that experts pose as guilty of this connection is that gum bacteria spread throughout the body, affecting the blood vessels and increasing blood pressure. Similarly, genetics could also play a role, along with risk factors such as smoking and obesity.

"Many countries of the world they don't pay attention to oral health which makes periodontitis is not treated for many years. The hypothesis is that this situation of oral and systemic inflammation and the response to bacteria accumulates on existing risk factors, "explains D'Aiuto.

But, although the researchers analyzed gum disease as a potential risk factor for hypertension, the opposite may also happen. "We need more research to determine if patients with high blood pressure are more likely to have periodontitis, "the study concludes.