Another Reason To Brush Your Teeth: Poor Oral Health Increases Blood Pressure

Clean teeth and fresh breath isn’t just about having good manners.

A series of recent studies have linked oral health to a number of illnesses, thanks to roving mouth bacteria wreaking havoc on other parts of the body.

Researchers in Norway have DNA evidence that “bacteria causing gingivitis can move from the mouth to the brain,” says Piotr Mydel of Broegelmanns Research Laboratory at the University of Bergen (UiB). In the brain, gum disease bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis (P.gingivalis), produces a protein that destroys brain cells, leading to memory loss and, potentially, Alzheimer’s.

In their study of 53 persons with Alzheimer’s, 96% of them tested positive for this harmful enzyme.

Mydel says his team will test a drug that “blocks” this process later this year. In the meantime, he says that those with a family history of both gingivitis (gum inflammation) or periodontitis (gum disease) and Alzheimer’s should be sure to have their teeth cleaned by a dentist regularly.

Another study published in the Journal of American Heart Association was able to pinpoint common oral pathogens in 79% of cerebral blood clots samples of 75 stroke patients. In the mouth, streptococci bacteria are harmless but can cause illness throughout the body, including infections of the cardiac valves. Previous research by the team at Tampere University in Finland found the same sort of bacteria in patients who’ve suffered heart attacks, coronary stenoses, cerebral aneurysms and venous or arterial thrombosis.

A related 2018 study in the AHA’s journal Hypertension also linked high blood pressure with poor oral hygiene. A review of medical and dental records of 3,600 people with hypertension revealed gum disease patients were 20% less likely to achieve and maintain healthy blood pressure levels compared to those with healthy gums.

Dr. Davide Pietropaoli, the study’s lead investigator and professor of dentistry at University of L’Aquila in Italy says, “Dental health professionals should be aware that oral health is indispensable to overall physiological health.”

Source : https://nypost.com/2019/06/04/brushing-your-teeth-may-stall-alzheimers-lower-blood-pressure/

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