A new study suggests that postmenopausal women who are missing teeth are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure. Many other studies have indicated an association between gum disease and tooth loss with hypertension, but the relationship continues to baffle scientists.
Tooth Loss Related to Illness
In the study, researchers examined more than 36-thousand women for eight years. They found a positive association between tooth loss and high blood pressure risk among women who are postmenopausal. Specifically, the researchers say they had approximately 20% higher risk of developing hypertension compared to other women who had all of their teeth.
There are several possible reasons for this, say scientists.
One possible explanation is that as people lose teeth, they may change their diets to softer and more processed foods. These changes in dietary patterns could be associated with higher risk of hypertension. There was no association found between periodontal disease and hypertension.
Researchers Call For New Awareness
The finding suggests that tooth loss may serve as a clinical warning sign for increased hypertension risk. As such, the researchers involved in the study believe that improved dental hygiene among those at risk for tooth loss as well as preventive measures such as closer blood pressure monitoring, dietary modification, physical activity, and weight loss may reduce the risk of hypertension.
The study is published in the American Journal of Hypertension.
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