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Recent studies have shown that lowering blood pressure by exercise might significantly be affected when people use an antibacterial mouthwash.

Exercise is known to keep the blood pressure in check; however, it is dependent on the activity of bacteria in your mouth. The bacterium plays a vital role in maintaining your cardiovascular health, as shown by a team of international scientists, who claim, the blood-pressure lowering effect of exercise in majorly affected if you use an antibacterial mouthwash instead of water.

The study was published in the journal, Free Radical Biology and Medicine, by the University of Plymouth – in collaboration with the Centre of Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, Spain. According to the lead author, Dr. Raul Bescos, blood vessels dilate during exercise, leading to a lower blood pressure. The ‘vasodilation’ is caused by the production of nitric oxide – a byproduct of exercise.

Nitric oxide is then converted into nitrate which is absorbed in the salivary glands and excreted with the saliva. “Some species of bacteria in the mouth can use nitrate and convert into nitrite — a very important molecule that can enhance the production of nitric oxide in the body. And when nitrite in saliva is swallowed, part of this molecule is rapidly absorbed into the circulation and reduced back to nitric oxide. This helps to maintain a widening of blood vessels which leads to a sustained lowering of blood pressure after exercise”.

The study involved 23 healthy adults, who were asked to run on a treadmill for 30 minutes and were then observed for 2 hours. The trial was repeated twice. They were asked to rinse their mouth with a liquid – antibacterial mouthwash or a placebo of mint-flavored water –30, 60 and 90 minutes after exercise.

The blood pressure was monitored, and blood and saliva samples were taken before and 120 minutes after exercise.

The study found that placebo caused a reduction in systolic blood pressure by -5.2mmHg at one hour after exercise. However, the participants who used antibacterial mouthwash, showed an average reduction of -2.0 mmHg.

The results also showed “blood pressure-lowering effect of exercise was diminished by more than 60% over the first hour of recovery, and totally abolished two hours after exercise when participants were given the antibacterial mouthwash.”


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