Missing Teeth? Postmenopausal? Check Your Blood Pressure

Contributing Editor

We’ve heard for years that how well we care for our teeth and gums can ultimately affect the health of our hearts, though researchers aren’t precisely sure why. A study of 36,692 postmenopausal women in the United States adds more evidence, indicating that women who have lost teeth are at higher risk of developing high blood pressure.

The vital signs, dental health, and other health measures, such as blood pressure  were documented annually in participants in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study  1998 through 2015. Women who had lost teeth had a 20 percent higher risk of having high blood pressure at the 2015 follow-up visit, especially among younger women and those with lower BMIs.

Researchers suggest two possible reasons. One, that eating differently after losing teeth (softer, more processed foods) can worsen risk factors for  high blood pressure. The other is that women losing teeth may represent a group already at higher risk for hypertension. Based on their findings, the team advises doctors to look at tooth loss as a clinical warning sign for hypertension risk, and that those at risk of tooth loss take better care of their oral health.

Source: American Journal of Hypertension