A new study in the American Journal of Hypertension indicates that postmenopausal women who have experienced tooth loss are at higher risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension). Multiple studies have suggested an association between periodontal disease and tooth loss with hypertension.
The study participants were 36,692 postmenopausal women in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study in the USA, who were followed annually from initial periodontal assessment in 1998 through to 2015 for newly diagnosed high blood pressure.
The study observed a positive association between tooth loss and hypertension risk among postmenopausal women. Specifically, these women had an approximately 20% higher risk of developing hypertension during follow-up compared to other women.
There are several possible reasons for the observed association. As people lose teeth, they may change their diets to softer and more processed foods. These changes in dietary patterns could be associated with a higher risk of hypertension. There was no association found between periodontal disease and high blood pressure.
The study suggests that older postmenopausal women who are losing their teeth may represent a group with a higher risk of developing high blood pressure. As such, the researchers involved in the study believe that improved dental hygiene among those at risk of tooth loss, as well as preventive measures such as closer blood pressure monitoring, dietary modification, physical activity, and weight loss may reduce the risk of hypertension. The findings also suggest that tooth loss may serve as a clinical warning sign for increased high blood pressure risk.