Some oral bacteria may cause high blood pressure in women, study finds

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  • High blood pressure in menopausal women can be linked to certain bacteria in the mouth.
  • This is the first study examining the relationship between oral health and hypertension.
  • The researchers observed women's blood pressure and oral health for 10 years.

There are specific oral bacteria that are associated with blood pressure status in postmenopausal women, according to a new study.

The study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association examined associations between oral bacteria, blood pressure, and incident hypertension in postmenopausal women.

The researchers enrolled 1 215 women with an average age of 63 years. They collected the women's plaque, measured their blood pressure, recorded their medical and lifestyle histories, and obtained medication inventories. The researchers followed up on the participants annually to check their blood pressure for 10 years.

More research needed to confirm results

The study found that an abundance of certain oral bacteria is associated with a higher risk of developing hypertension in postmenopausal women that results in treatment with medication.

The study results show that 10 kinds of bacteria in the mouth are linked with a 10% to 16% higher risk of developing high blood pressure, while five other types of bacteria were associated with a 9% to 18% lower hypertension risk.

The results also show that medical history and lifestyle factors such as older age, treatment for high cholesterol, dietary intake and smoking also influence the development of high blood pressure.

This is the first known study to measure how oral health relates to blood pressure. Study authors say that more research is needed to confirm their observations.

"Evaluation of the microbiome at other oral sites, such as saliva, and greater understanding of bacteria functionality will further expand existing knowledge on oral microbial composition and BP homeostasis in human populations," the paper states.

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