Brush­ing your teeth low­ers your risk of hy­per­ten­sion

Swazi Observer - - ADVERTORIAL -

BRUSH­ING your teeth could stave off high blood pres­sure, ac­cord­ing to new re­search.

A study of more than 36 500 older women found those who had lost teeth were 20 per­cent more likely to de­velop the con­di­tion.

Im­prov­ing den­tal hy­giene may re­duce the risk of a se­ri­ous dis­or­der that af­fects over a quar­ter of adults, say sci­en­tists.

It can lead to heart at­tacks, strokes, de­men­tia and other po­ten­tially fa­tal ill­nesses.

One pos­si­ble ex­pla­na­tion for the link is as peo­ple lose teeth they may change their di­ets to softer and more pro­cessed foods, so they chew less and have de­creased blood flow.

These al­ter­ations in eat­ing pat­terns could be as­so­ci­ated with more cases of hy­per­ten­sion - its med­i­cal term.

Se­nior au­thor Pro­fes­sor Jean Wactawski-Wende, of Buf­falo Univer­sity in New York, said: 'These find­ings sug­gest tooth loss may be an im­por­tant fac­tor in the devel­op­ment of hy­per­ten­sion.'

The study, pub­lished in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Hy­per­ten­sion, fol­lows a host of pre­vi­ous re­search link­ing gum dis­ease to high blood pres­sure. But the re­la­tion­ship re­mains un­clear. Now, in one of the most thor­ough sur­veys to date, Dr WactawskiWende and col­leagues tracked post­menopausal women in the US for 18 years.

The par­tic­i­pants from the Women's Health Ini­tia­tive-Ob­ser­va­tional Study were fol­lowed an­nu­ally from ini­tial gum health as­sess­ment in 1998 through 2015 for newly di­ag­nosed high blood pres­sure.

The re­searchers iden­ti­fied a sig­nif­i­cant link. Specif­i­cally, women who had lost teeth were around 20 per­cent more prone to high blood pres­sure than those who had not.

In­ter­est­ingly, the as­so­ci­a­tion was stronger among younger women and those with lower BMI (body mass in­dex).

There are sev­eral pos­si­ble rea­sons. Ear­lier re­search has sug­gested tooth loss leads to less chew­ing - that re­duces blood flow.

Sur­pris­ingly there was no link found be­tween gum - or pe­ri­odon­tal - dis­ease and hy­per­ten­sion, con­trary to pre­vi­ous re­search.

Dr Wactawski-Wende said the study sug­gests older post­menopausal women who are los­ing their teeth may rep­re­sent a group at greater risk of high blood pres­sure.

As such her team say bet­ter den­tal hy­giene among this group - as well as pre­ven­tive mea­sures such as closer blood pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing, di­etary mod­i­fi­ca­tion, phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and weight loss - may pro­tect them.

The find­ings also in­di­cate tooth loss may serve as a clin­i­cal warn­ing sign for the devel­op­ment of hy­per­ten­sion - of­fer­ing a chance to nip it in the bud.

Dr Wactawski-Wende added: 'Fur­ther re­search may help us to de­ter­mine the un­der­ly­ing mech­a­nisms by which these two com­mon dis­eases are as­so­ci­ated.'

Poor den­tal hy­giene has been linked to a host of po­ten­tially fa­tal ill­nesses - in­clud­ing heart dis­ease and can­cer.

It's be­lieved bac­te­ria in the gums can get into the blood­stream and move to other parts of the body caus­ing in­flam­ma­tion.

Around 80 per­cent over-55s have ev­i­dence of gum dis­ease.

Forty per­cent of 65- to 74-yearolds have fewer than 21 of their orig­i­nal teeth - with half of them re­port­ing gum dis­ease be­fore they lost teeth.

Around 160 000 peo­ple die from heart and cir­cu­la­tory dis­ease in the UK ev­ery year. Bri­tish ex­perts have said look­ing after den­tal health could help pre­vent heart at­tacks and strokes.

They ad­vise peo­ple to brush their teeth twice a day - and floss reg­u­larly.

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