News & blogs News Gum disease and tooth loss linked to high blood pressure in older women, research shows 11 December 2018 Cleaning between your teeth regularly and avoiding gum disease can lower your risk of developing high blood pressure, according to the findings of a new study. The research suggests that post-menopausal women who have suffered from tooth loss are 20% more likely to develop hypertension.1 The comprehensive study involved more than 35,000 women who were monitored annually for nearly two decades. Researchers involved in the study believe that improved dental hygiene in general is key to reducing the risk of hypertension. Leading health charity, the Oral Health Foundation is looking to urge women of all ages to develop and maintain a good oral health routine to lower their likelihood of developing gum disease, the leading cause of tooth loss in the UK. Speaking on this important new research, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, says: “Taking care of our oral health earlier on in life will provide us with many benefits as we enter our later years. “This is the latest in a long line of studies which illustrates there is a strong link between the health of our mouth and the rest of our body. “We cannot refuse our teeth and gums the daily care they require. Neglecting them is a decision we will likely live to regret in the future.” The study was published in the American Journal of Hypertension and reinforces the need to make interdental cleaning part of our daily routine. “Avoiding gum disease is a big part of lowering your risk of developing many general health conditions,” Dr Carter adds. “In addition to an increased risk of high blood pressure, gum disease has also been linked with many conditions such as diabetes, strokes and cardiovascular disease. “However, the good news is that gum disease is an entirely preventable and treatable disease. “Brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, cleaning in between your teeth once a day using interdental brushes and maintaining regular visits to the dentist are the best way to avoid problems like gum disease. “In the grand scheme of things, it takes a relatively small amount of time each day to keep our teeth and gums clean but it can lead to a lifetime of health and wellbeing benefits.” If you would like advice about caring for your oral health, contact the Oral Health Foundation’s free and impartial Dental Helpline on 01788 539 780 or visit www.dentalhealth.org. References Gordon, J., LaMonte, M. and Zhao, J. (2018). Association of Periodontal Disease and Edentulism With Hypertension Risk in Postmenopausal Women. American Journal of Hypertension. [online] Available at: https://academic.oup.com/ajh/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ajh/hpy164/5209925 [Accessed 6 Dec. 2018].