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Evidence Points to Oral Microbiota’s Role in Regulating Hypertension

A study published in Hypertension examines the effects of oral microbial communities and nitric oxide (NO) on systemic health.

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A study published in Hypertension, “Report of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Working Group on the Role of Micobiota in Blood Pressure Regulation,” examines the effects of oral microbial communities and nitric oxide (NO) on systemic health. Experts on the National Institutes of Health working group focused on NO’s implications for hypertension. The results suggest that achieving an optimum balance of “good” and “bad” oral microbiota is significant for preventing chronic disease, including periodontitis, chronic inflammation and hypertension.

A meta-analysis found increasing the dietary intake of nitrate-rich food to be an effective means for reducing blood pressure — provided the subjects have the right nitrate-reducing oral bacteria. Using antiseptic mouthrinse eliminates the blood pressure-lowering effects of dietary nitrate, as daily use of these rinses kills the microbes involved in producing NO. According to the working group, an estimated 200 million Americans regularly use mouthrinses that eradicate NO-producing bacteria, leading to a state of NO deficiency. The report suggests investigators focus on bacterial approaches to blood pressure regulation and new therapeutic strategies to restore NO production in the oral cavity.

 

From Decisions in Dentistry. December 2017;3(12):9.

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