A new paper underscores that the importance of creating and maintaining healthy bacteria in the mouth is an essential step in understanding how oral health affects systemic disease. These data suggest that management of the tongue microbiome by regular cleaning together with adequate dietary intake of nitrate provide an opportunity for the improvement of resting blood pressure. The paper appears today in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology.
Nathan, Bryan, PHD, said, “Nitric oxide is one of the most important signaling molecules produced in the human body. As NO is a ubiquitous signaling molecule, the systemic effects of orally produced bacteria may have other significant effects on human health beyond maintenance of blood pressure. We know one cannot be well without an adequate amount of NO circulating throughout the body. Yet, the very first thing over 200 million Americans do each day is use an antiseptic mouthwash, which destroys the ‘good bacteria’ that helps to create the NO. These once thought good habits may be doing more harm than good.
“The demonstration that the presence of NO producing bacteria in the oral cavity can help maintain normal blood pressure gives us another target to help the more than 100 million Americans living with high blood pressure. Manipulation of the human microbiome as a therapeutic target for disease management is on the near horizon. Screening the oral microbiome of resistant hypertensive patients may provide new insights into the etiology of their hypertension. Two out of three patients prescribed high blood pressure medication do not have their blood pressure adequately managed. This may provide an explanation as to why. None of the currently FDA approved drugs for management of hypertension are targeted towards these NO producing bacteria.”
“There is enormous interest and research in the microbiome but most of the focus in on the gut microbiome. It is time we focus on the most proximal part of our gastrointestinal system, the mouth. The oral cavity is an attractive target for probiotic and/or prebiotic therapy because of the ease of access. The potential to restore the oral flora to provide NO production is a completely new paradigm for NO biochemistry and physiology as well as to cardiovascular medicine and dentistry. These studies provide new insights into the host-oral microbiome symbiotic relationship. If we are going to make a leap forward in health, we need to take another look at boosting oral health as it relates to NO production and the role it plays in disease or find safe and effective therapeutic strategies to recapitulate NO production in the oral cavity, he said.”
This is the first longitudinal next-generation sequencing study demonstrating the impact of oral hygiene on the composition of the tongue microbiome. Regular tongue cleaning is recommended