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Fast Facts: Perio Edition - Oral Bacteria Linked to Hypertension: A Study

Fast Facts

Fast Facts: Perio Edition Episode 68
[Andrew Johnston, RDH]
Welcome back everyone! You are listening to another episode of Fast Facts- Perio Edition brought to you by A Tale of Two Hygienists in partnership with DentistRX. And now, please welcome your host, Katrina Sanders.
[Katrina Sanders, RDH]
Hello, and welcome to Fast Facts: Perio Edition. We interrupt the normal recording of your Fast Facts: Perio Edition with Katrina Sanders to bring to you a brand new study published on March 2nd in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
You guys, there was an incredible study that was done, and this study is deeply relevant not only for cardiovascular disease, but for what we understand about periodontal disease. Join me this week as we talk about oral bacteria being linked to hypertension in older women. You heard that right, on March 2nd in the Journal of the American Heart Association, a study was done and published in which post-menopausal women were enrolled in an osteoporosis and periodontal disease study. This ten year study was really focused on identifying, of course, links between perio and osteoporosis. Although a little happy accident began to form. Upon gathering oral plaque samples, there was an incredible link that was discovered between very specific bacteria of oral origin and subsequent elevated blood pressure. Now we know that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women, and more particularly, we do get concerned as our female population increases in age. The American Heart Association states that this is relevant because high blood pressure is, of course, more prevalent amongst older women.
So here's what happened. In the study itself, what they were doing was they were comparing women who at the beginning of the study did not have hypertension, and then following ten years later, what occurred, that these women then experienced hypertension. The analysis was incredible. This analysis identified that there were ten specific bacteria that were associated with anywhere between a 10% to 16% higher risk of developing high blood pressure later on in life. They found that these results were actually consistent even after looking at demographic or even like lifestyle choices, like high cholesterol, dietary intake or even tobacco habits. So they found that if you even compare individuals across the board with different types of demographic, clinical, or lifestyle factors, that still, the potentiation that these same ten bacteria were critical components in the risk associated with hypertension. This really helps outline or rather define the importance of the work that we're doing as clinicians. One of the critical senior authors of the study, Michael LaMonte, said in the study, since periodontal disease and hypertension are especially prevalent in older adults, if a relationship between the oral bacteria and hypertension risk could be established, there may be an opportunity to enhance hypertension prevention through increased targeted oral care. Don't you absolutely love that?
In fact, Willie Lawrence, chair of the American Heart Association's National Hypertension Council Initiatives Oversight Committee, stated, "we have come to better appreciate that health is influenced by more than just the traditional risk factors we know to be so important. This paper is a provocative reminder of the need to expand our understanding of additional health factors that may even be influenced by our environments and potentially impact our biology at the endothelial level. Inclusive research on hypertension must continue to be a priority to better understand and address this condition". What a critical component and what a wonderful study.
Check the show notes for information on how to read the study in its entirety, but my hope is, if nothing else, that we as clinicians continue to understand the critical role that we play not only in reducing oral inflammation but of course as key Preventive Specialists in the oral and subsequent systemic link. Thank you for joining me today. Join me next time as we continue the conversation about AAP Staging and Grading. Cheers.
This has been another episode of Fast Facts - Perio Edition with Katrina Sanders, RDH. Please feel free to reach me on Instagram @thedentalwinegenist or on my website Cheers.
[Andrew Johnston, RDH]
Thank you for listening to another episode of Fast Facts - Perio Edition, brought to you in part by DentistRX makers of the InteliSonic line of power brushes. Find out more by visiting their website at We'll see you next week for another Fast Fact!
Resource: ​​LaMonte, M. J., Gordon, J. H., Diaz‐Moreno, P., Andrews, C. A., Shimbo, D., Hovey, K. M., ... &Wactawski‐Wende, J. (2022). Oral Microbiome Is Associated WithIncident Hyperten

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