Is periodontal inflammation associated with raised blood pressure? Evidence from a National US survey


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Abstract

There is incomplete and inconclusive evidence for the association between periodontal disease markers and arterial blood pressure, particularly from large national epidemiological studies. This study assessed the relationship between different markers of periodontal inflammation and disease with arterial blood pressure in people aged 17 years and over in USA. We analysed data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on 6617 men and 7377 women who received a periodontal examination. Blood pressure was analysed in both a continuous format and a binary variable for case definition of hypertension. Periodontal disease markers (extent of gingival bleeding, pocket depth, and loss of attachment, and a case definition of periodontitis) were associated on the arterial blood pressure outcomes through a series of regression models, incrementally adjusting for confounders (demographic, inflammation markers, chronic conditions, smoking, BMI, socio-economic status). All periodontal measures had significant crude associations with SBP and hypertension. Gingival bleeding, a marker of current periodontal inflammation, was the only measure consistently and significantly associated with raised SBP and an increased odds of hypertension in the US adult population throughout the adjustment process. For a 10% greater extent of gingival bleeding, the average SBP was higher by 0.5 (0.3, 0.6) mmHg in the fully adjusted model. By referring to the general population and the whole distribution of blood pressure, not only to those at higher risk for hypertension, this association might have some important implications for clinical practice and public health strategies.

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