A Connection Between Your Oral Health and A Stroke

Posted on 5/9/2022 by Dr. Saklofsky
A Connection Between Your Oral Health and A StrokeA stroke kills someone in the United States every four minutes! We can't help but wonder whether there is a link between stroke and dental health as we learn more about how our mouth health affects our entire health.

Understanding Stroke

One must first understand what a stroke is and who is at a higher risk of having one before understanding stroke and oral health. In a stroke, a blood vessel bursts in the brain, or a blood clot prevents oxygen from reaching the brain. Stroke sufferers will exhibit physical signs such as drooping facial expressions, arm weakness, or slurred or impaired speech. In recent studies, patients who have suffered a stroke had generally poor oral hygiene practices and oral health. Gum disease is generally a result of poor oral hygiene.

Understanding Gum Disease

Almost half of all adults in the US have gum disease! This completely preventable disease results from the overgrowth of bacteria in your mouth. Gum disease has a variety of stages and can often be slowed with the right treatment. It is characterized by swollen, red gums that pull away from the teeth and easily bleed. To prevent gum disease, you should follow your dentist's recommendations: brush your teeth at least twice daily, floss and mouthwash every day, chew gum that is sugar-free between meals when brushing isn't an option, and go to your dentist every 6 months.

The Connection Between The Two

Gum disease and stroke are linked by inflammation. It is caused by an infection of the mouth caused by gum disease. Sadly, this bacterial infection can enter the bloodstream, causing inflammation and blood clots, leading to a stroke. Studies indicate there is a link between gum disease and vascular inflammation. Gum disease is also linked to conditions such as diabetes, certain cancers, and Alzheimer's. The risks of gum disease and stroke should be understood as many Americans suffer from both. Following a stroke, it is vital to follow good oral care practices. After a stroke, patients may require additional support to maintain good oral hygiene, particularly if they have cognitive or physical limitations.
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Dr. Saklofsky has created an educational blog as a resource for our patients. If you like an article or the dental blog in general please share it to social media, then call (971) 317-9499 to make an appointment.
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