Saturday, 30 Sep 2023

Frequent mouthwash use linked to hypertension

High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce dangers

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Hypertension is one of the world’s most preventable risk factors for premature death and disability, yet it continues to have an immeasurable impact on Western populations. In a bid to lessen the global burden of the disease, researchers have made huge efforts to identify its modifiable risk factors. Some studies have suggested that the antiseptic components of certain mouthwashes could be linked to increases in blood pressure.

In 2020, an observational study published in the journal Blood Pressure suggested that the frequent use of mouthwashes could be a risk factor for hypertension.

The research was conducted on a sample of overweight or obese individuals aged between 40 and 65, with the aim of shedding light on the potential link between over-the-counter mouthwash and hypertension.

The 1,028 participants were assessed through primary exposure to mouthwash use twice daily or more.

Results showed that twelve percent of the sample developed hypertension during the study’s follow-up period.

The researchers wrote: “People who used mouthwash twice a day or more had a higher incidence of hypertension compared to less frequent users and compared to non-users.

“Several additional potential confounders evaluated did not impact these associations.

“Associations persisted among never smokers.”

An earlier publication by the same research group had previously highlighted the potential systemic impact of chronic mouthwash use.

According to the antecedent findings, mouthwash use twice or more daily was associated with a 55 percent increase in the risk of developing predicates and diabetes over a three-year period.

This is what incited the researchers to assess any potential links between the use of the dental product and hypertension.

In previous shorter trials, it’s been shown that antibacterial mouthwashes deplete oral nitrate-reducing bacteria in the body, hindering the effect of nitric oxide on the body.

Nitric oxide is produced by almost all human cells and is one of the most pivotal molecules for vascular health.

This is mainly because it acts as a vasodilator, meaning it relaxes the inner lining of the blood vessels and causes them to widen.

In this way, the blood vessels are able to accommodate a higher volume of blood, which increases the flow of oxygen and lowers blood pressure.

When nitric oxide bioavailability is depleted, this also increases oxidative stress and inflammation, which are also linked to the onset of hypertension.

Previous studies have suggested the antiseptic and disinfectants used in mouthwash, namely chlorhexidine, may be responsible for the deleterious effects.

Chlorhexidine is a prescription mouthwash that decreases bacteria in the mouth.

Weaker over-the-counter mouthwashes have also been shown to reduce nitrite levels in the body, however.

“These studies suggest that disruption of oral microflora by antibacterial mouthwash may have detrimental health effects by lowering nitric oxide bioavailability,” concluded the study authors.

It should be noted that while the observational study suggests a causal relationship, further experiments are needed to confirm this.

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