Losing all your teeth obviously has an impact on your oral health; you’ll likely need dentures from your dentist in order to speak clearly and enjoy a balanced diet. But tooth loss can have numerous unseen consequences as well. For example, if you’re a postmenopausal woman who has lost most or all of your teeth, you might be at risk of developing high blood pressure – and all the life-threatening complications it can lead to. Read on to learn more about the link between cardiovascular health and the empty space in your smile.
A study in the American Journal of Hypertension found that postmenopausal woman who have lost all their teeth have a 20 percent higher risk of suffering from high blood pressure. Over 36,000 women participated in the study; the link between heart health and oral health was found to be particularly strong among younger woman and those who had a lower body mass index.
There are a few different possibilities for why this connection exists. For example, tooth loss tends to limit what you can eat, preventing you from getting proper nutrition; over time this might affect your blood pressure. There’s also a possibility that high blood pressure is connected to gum disease (a condition that often leads to tooth loss), but at this time there isn’t much evidence to clearly define such a link.
In any case, the researchers who conducted the study suggested that tooth loss could act as a clinical warning sign for an increased risk of raised blood pressure.
Since good oral health is essential for good oral health, saving your teeth could go a long way towards helping you avoid hypertension. In general, this means practicing good oral hygiene (brushing two times a day, flossing daily, rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash, and visiting the dentist regularly). If you develop a cavity or gum disease, have it treated right away; you could easily end up losing the tooth if the condition is allowed to develop.
If you do suffer from complete tooth loss, talk to your dentist about getting dentures so that you can continue to eat normally. (Implant-retained dentures might be ideal, since they have chewing power that’s comparable to natural teeth.) You should also take preventive measures to control your blood pressure. This might include closer blood pressure monitoring, changing your diet, exercising more often, and losing weight.
While the connection between tooth loss and blood pressure still needs to be studied more, what’s clear is that you need to be proactive if you want to keep your smile, your heart, and the rest of your body in good shape.
Dr. C. Romesh Weerasooriya (Dr. Mesh) received his Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of Florida College of Dentistry in 1984. He’s gone on to complete over 1,000 hours of continuing education since dental school. At Tarpon Shores Dental in Venice, FL, he provides excellent preventive care to keep your smile healthy, but he also offers quality tooth replacements such as dental implants and full dentures. To schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (941) 474-9548.