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Howard G. Smith, M.D. is a former radio medical editor and talk show host in the Boston Metro area.  His "Medical Minute" of health and wellness news and commentary was a regular weekday feature on WBZ-AM, WRKO-AM, and WMRE-AM.   His popular two-way talk show, Dr. Howard Smith OnCall, was regularly heard Sunday morning and middays on WBZ.

More recently, Dr. Smith has adopted the 21st century technology of audio and video podcasting as conduits for the short health and wellness reports, HEALTH NEWS YOU SHOULD USE.  Many of these have video versions, and they may be found on his YouTube page:

Trained at Harvard Medical School and a long-time faculty member at Boston Children’s Hospital, he practiced Pediatric Otolaryngology for 40 years in Boston, Southern California, and in central Connecticut.

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Please note that the news, views, commentary, and opinions that Dr. Smith provides are for informational purposes only.  Any changes that you or members of your family contemplate making to lifestyle, diet, medications, or medical therapy should always be discussed beforehand with personal physicians who have been supervising your care.

Mar 9, 2019


Using popular mouthwashes may cause your blood pressure to jump up significantly.  Dentists and cardiologists at the University of Texas report that the antibacterial agent in mouthwash, chlorhexidine, prevents the normal oral bacteria from metabolizing ingested nitrates into the nitric oxide that plays a key role in normalizing blood pressure.

The investigators recruited subjects from the faculty, staff, and student populations in order to study their oral bacteria, oral nitrites, and blood pressures before, during, and after their use of mouthwash.  The subjects used Peridex mouthwash twice daily for 7 days.

Use of the mouthwash and tongue cleaning significantly elevated both the systolic and the diastolic blood pressures as it depressed counts of oral bacteria and the concentration of nitric oxide.  Parameters returned to baseline 3 days following mouthwash discontinuation.

This study is an additional reason why so-called therapeutic mouthwashes containing anti-bacterial agents should be avoided except on the express recommendation of your dentist or periodontist.

#mouthwash #chlorhexidine #nitric oxide #hypertension #healthnews

Tribble GD, Angelov N, Weltman R, Wang B-Y, Eswaran SV, Gay IC, Parthasarathy K, Dao D-HV, Richardson KN, Ismail NM, Sharina IG, Hyde ER, Ajami NJ, Petrosino JF and Bryan NS (2019) Frequency of Tongue Cleaning Impacts the Human Tongue Microbiome Composition and Enterosalivary Circulation of Nitrate. Front. Cell. Infect. Microbiol. 9:39. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2019.00039