Good Oral Health May Reduce Risk of High Blood Pressure and Cancer of the Esophagus, Studies Say

Good Oral Health May Reduce Risk of High Blood Pressure and Cancer of the Esophagus, Studies Say
Oral health has been linked to several diseases. (Balance Form Creative/Shutterstock)
Ellen Wan

Oral health may have a wide-reaching effect on the entire body’s well-being with two recent studies reporting on the connection between oral health, high blood pressure, and cancer of the esophagus.

The oral health—the condition of teeth and the types of bacteria present in the mouth—of elderly people was the focus of a recent Japanese study.

Japanese Professors, Ken Shinmura, head of the Department of Internal Medicine at Hyogo College of Medicine, and Yoko Hasegawa, head of the Department of Dentistry and Oral Surgery at Hyogo College of Medicine, jointly conducted the study which found an association between high blood pressure and low bite force (mastication). This was particularly seen in the elderly who had lost one or more molars. In technical terms, they suffered from a loss of “molar occlusal support” and in addition had a significant 72 percent increase in the risk of high blood pressure. The team classified high blood pressure according to the guidelines set by the Japanese Society of Hypertension.

3-Year Study

The researchers followed 894 elderly people aged 65 years and above over a three-year period. They assessed oral condition by the number of remaining teeth, molar occlusion, bite force, oral moisture, and oral bacteria count.

Researchers concluded that age, weight, and molar occlusion support conditions, as well as diet and potassium and sodium intake significantly correlate with high blood pressure.

They advised that, along with a healthy diet, good molar occlusion—so that you can chew your food well—helps maintain good oral health and prevent high blood pressure.

The study was published in the journal Nutrients on March 17.

Cancer Link

Another study on the connection between oral bacteria, gum disease, and cancer of the esophagus was conducted by New York University Langone Health.

The study tracked the oral health of 120,000 Americans over a 10-year period and found that the presence of two gum disease-related bacteria may increase the risk of cancer. In particular, Tannerella forsythia, a bacterium associated with gum disease, increased the chance of developing esophageal cancer by 21 percent.