Oral Hygiene and Hypertension

A study published last year in the Journal of Periodontology suggests that poor oral hygiene habits may lead to increased incidence of hypertension. The study assessed data collected between 2008 and 2010 from nearly 20,000 individuals, and evaluated the participants’ daily frequency of tooth brushing, as well as their use of oral health products such as dental floss, mouthwash, interdental brushes, and electric toothbrushes. Hypertension was diagnosed in 5,921 study participants.

The American Heart Association reports that 80 million American adults have been diagnosed with hypertension. Known as “the silent killer,” hypertension can lead to stroke, damage to the heart and arteries, and kidney damage.

According to a report in the American Academy of Periodontology regarding this latest study, “For individuals with and without periodontitis (the most severe form of gum disease), frequent tooth brushing was found to accompany a decreased prevalence of hypertension. Overall, study participants with poor oral hygiene habits were more likely to have higher hypertension frequency. Researchers concluded that oral hygiene may be considered an independent risk factor for hypertension and that maintaining good periodontal health habits may prevent and control the condition.”

Recent research has already concluded that periodontitis can be linked to other systemic issues, such as diabetes and heart disease. This new study strengthens the position that the health of your mouth can affect the overall health of your body, and is an essential ingredient in a healthy lifestyle.

Gum disease affects 1/2 of all adults over 30, and can lead to swelling, irritation, receding gums, and tooth loss if not treated. Regular brushing, flossing, and annual periodontal evaluations are highly recommended to address any potential issues.