Researchers from the University at Buffalo recently conducted a study, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, to determine the link between dental hygiene and hypertension, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
To do so, they examined more than 36,500 older women and assessed their dental and health records each year from 1998 to 2015.
After analyzing the results, they found those who lost teeth were 20 percent more likely to develop the condition. They noted the association was stronger among younger women and those with lower body mass index.
“These findings suggest tooth loss may be an important factor in the development of hypertension,” coauthor Jean Wactawski-Wende said in a statement.
While scientists are unsure why there is a relationship between the two factors, they believe tooth loss could lead to changes in dietary patterns that could be linked with higher risk of hypertension.
“We are continuing to explore the underlying reasons for the association between tooth loss and hypertension,” co-author Joshua Gordon added. “Future studies on the impact of tooth loss on dietary patterns, inflammation and the communities of bacteria that live in the mouth may give us further insight into this association.”
In the meantime, the analysts are encouraging adults to practice good dental hygiene as well as preventive measures, such as dietary modification, physical activity and weight loss, that may reduce the risk of hypertension.