Can Dental Problems Cause Strokes?
The link between strokes and oral health
It’s hard to believe that issues within your mouth could also be causing issues within the rest of your body, but it’s a proven fact! Oral bacteria don’t just wreak havoc in the mouth but have also been associated with health issues like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatic diseases, respiratory diseases, stroke, and much more. Gum disease is known to be associated with troubling bacteria, such as P. gingivalis, which has also been linked by researchers to problems within the carotid arteries. According to the Cleveland Clinic, harmful oral bacteria may lead to an increase of C-reactive inflammatory protein within the body, a risk factor for the development of strokes and heart disease. In addition, many studies have suggested that the treatment of gum disease could lower one’s risk of having a stroke.
Dental problems that can lead to a stroke
Inflammation of the gums, also known as gingivitis, is a common condition characterized by swollen, often tender, and easily bleeding gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a more severe form of gum disease, known as periodontal disease. Surprisingly, this harmful condition impacts over 47% of Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Severe periodontal disease can result in tooth decay, bone loss, and even tooth loss. Associations between all forms of gum disease and stroke have been reported by many researchers. Some studies have even reported a potential link between tooth loss and greater risk for having strokes. Both inflammation and infection, which characterize gum disease, seems to be the most significant link to the increased risk of having a stroke.
What kind of strokes can dental problems cause?
Dental problems like gum disease have been mainly linked to the development of ischemic strokes. Ischemic strokes are a result of the disruption of blood supply to the brain due to a blood clot.
Maintain great oral health
Keeping up with a good oral hygiene routine is crucial, as it will not only help save your oral health, but also your overall health! If you notice that your gums bleed when you floss and/or brush, this is often a tale-tell sin of gingivitis. To help fight this, be sure to brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time. Flossing at least once a day is also necessary to keep bacteria at bay. Not to mention, maintaining regular dental visits is key to helping you prevent and manage any existing oral issues. Practicing good oral health habits can help reduce your risk of developing other systemic health issues, including strokes.
How can your dentist help?
Your dental professionals are trained to provide you with the best care to help improve your health and fight against oral disease. Routine comprehensive dental exams are essential as they allow your dentist to detect and manage tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer, and much more early-on. Don’t delay, schedule your dental appointment today!
Our doctors and dental specialists provide a wide range of dental services at our 40+ multi-specialty dental offices across Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Our dental team is compassionate, and our main goal is to provide you a comfortable, caring dental experience. Book an appointment at your local Gentle Dental today.