Based on the results of previous research indicating that blood pressure tends to be higher in people with existing periodontal disease compared to those without it, researchers of a new study believe that their work is the first to prospectively examine the association between oral bacteria and developing hypertension.
"Since periodontal disease and hypertension are especially prevalent in older adults, if a relationship between the oral bacteria and hypertension risk could be established, there may be an opportunity to enhance hypertension prevention through increased, targeted oral care," said study senior author Michael LaMonte, PhD, MPH.
In the study of more than 1,200 post-menopausal women, researchers identified 10 kinds of oral bacteria associated with a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, and five strains of bacteria linked with lower hypertension risk.
The researchers evaluated data from 1,215 postmenopausal women in the Buffalo Osteoporosis and Periodontal Disease Study. At study enrollment, researchers recorded blood pressure and collected oral plaque from below the gum line.
At the study’s beginning, about 35% (429) of the participants had normal blood pressure with no use of blood pressure medication. Nearly 24% (306) of participants had elevated blood pressure: and approximately 40% (480) of participants were categorized as having prevalent treated hypertension, diagnosed and treated for hypertension with medication.
Researchers identified 245 unique strains of bacteria in the plaque samples. Nearly one-third of the women who did not have hypertension or were not being treated for hypertension at the beginning of the study were diagnosed with high blood pressure during the follow-up period, an average of 10 years.
The analysis found that 10 bacteria were associated with a 10% to 16% higher risk of developing high blood pressure; and five other kinds of bacteria were associated with a 9% to 18% lower hypertension risk.
The findings are particularly relevant for postmenopausal women, since the prevalence of high blood pressure is higher among older women than older men, according to LaMonte.
At Herbsea, we know that excellent oral hygiene makes a huge difference in health and wellness. Studies such as this show the danger in neglecting your teeth and gums. Get regular dental checkups and cleanings, don’t smoke or drink excess alcohol and eat clean. Your mouth will be happy!
LaMonte, et al. “Oral Microbiome Is Associated With Incident Hypertension Among Postmenopausal Women.” Journal of the American Heart Association, 2022; DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.121.021930