Hypertension and Tooth Loss: Which One Is the Cause?
Poor oral health can be a trigger for cardiovascular disease. Logically, a causal link can be established between poor oral hygiene and periodontal disease and then a link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular illness, as well as a host of other serious issues.
Periodontal disease can also lead to tooth loss, but can tooth loss be associated with hypertension, and just as importantly, can high blood pressure cause tooth loss? 28 studies in 16 different countries involving 1,224,821 were put under a systematic review. Was there a connection? Very likely!
Does tooth loss indicate hypertension?
Research shows a strong indication that when severe tooth loss is the marker, hypertension is a likely outcome. The risk of hypertension increased with the severity of the periodontal disease. There was a 20% greater risk of having hypertension if the patient had moderate to severe periodontal disease.
Earlier studies reported strong associations between hypertension and tooth loss without establishing that it could have a two-way causality. This current analysis helped confirm that hypertension could be a marker for tooth loss. In other words, people with chronically high blood pressure are more at risk than similar people with normal blood pressure.
The effect of age on the tooth loss/high blood pressure connection
People over the age of 65 who are missing more than ten teeth show a much greater likelihood of hypertension than younger people. But when the study was limited to ONLY older people, the association was not as strong. A much more significant association was apparent in the study of all age groups.
This suggests that the factor of age is a mediator between tooth loss and hypertension, but its effect is not fully understood yet, and more studies are needed.
The effect of gender
In terms of gender, men and women have different risk factors. Women postmenopausal women are more severely affected by hypertension, and if tooth loss is factored in, the severity increases by 20%. Men are more likely to use tobacco, which is a mutual factor for hypertension and tooth loss. But taken together, there was no statistical difference between men and women.
Cardiovascular disease is serious and progressive and manifests symptoms in its advanced stages. Dental diseases often overlap with hypertension and cardiovascular disease and can increase with:
- Poor diet
- Unhealthy lifestyle (e.g., no exercise)
- Toxic products
- Stress, anxiety
The good news
The good news is that routine checkups with your dentist and health professionals can often reverse the progression of periodontal disease and hypertension and set you on a better course for health.
While further research is needed to better study the connection between these two diseases, the reality is that the human body is a tightly integrated system of cause and effect, and your mouth is the primary gateway of energy to the body. Healthy gums and teeth go a long way to supporting your body’s natural healing mechanisms and your wellbeing.