Antiseptic mouthwash may inadvertently raise blood pressure, says researcher

Paul Basilio, MDLinx | August 30, 2017

The delicate balance of oral bacteria is often not a large concern of many health care providers, but an understanding of the vital effects of the bacteria inside the mouth can be essential, according to one expert.

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Recent discoveries show that oral bacteria provide the human body with continuous sources of nitric oxide, said Nathan Bryan, PhD.

Nathan Bryan, PhD, an expert in the role of nitric oxide (NO) as it relates to organ systems, recently discussed his research at the American Naturopathic Medical Association’s 36th Annual Convention and Educational Seminar.

“Recent discoveries reveal that oral bacteria provide the human body with continuous sources of nitric oxide,” said Dr. Bryan, an Adjunct Professor at the Baylor College of Medicine. “Nitric oxide is one of the most important molecules produced in the human body. It controls and regulates blood pressure and is a major factor in preventing cardiovascular disease.”

Dr. Bryan explained that loss of NO is often the earliest event in the onset and progression of cardiovascular disease. Poor oral hygiene and the use of antiseptic mouthwash or antibiotics can kill these commensal bacteria and disrupt NO production.

This may put patients at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Bryan reported that strong data have demonstrated that antiseptic mouthwashes may be beneficial for oral health and the prevention of halitosis, but they may decrease the population of beneficial oral bacteria. He stated that this could raise blood pressure and may lead to essential hypertension in healthy individuals.  

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