More Evidence Links Stroke to Oral Health

More Evidence Links Stroke to Oral Health

Adults that suffer from gum disease may have twice the risk of stroke when compared to those with healthy gums, reports the findings of a new study. This latest study does not mark the first time researchers have found a connection between gum disease and blood clots in the brain linked to stroke, or the fist time your Sonora dentist has covered this topic. However, the results of this latest study have helped to expand on that knowledge by showing the presence of a “dose-response” relationship, according to researchers from the University of South Carolina’s School of Medicine.

Based on the results of the study, the relationship seems to suggest that the more severe the case of gum disease, the worse an individual’s risk of stroke. In fact, stroke risk rose with the severity of gum disease, it was 1.9 times, 2.1 times, and 2.2 times higher for those with mild, moderate, and severe gum disease, respectively, according to researchers.

While researchers don’t know for certain why individuals suffering from gum disease have a higher risk of stroke, the believe that the levels of inflammation found in both gum disease and hardened arteries may play a role.

The Link Between Gum Disease and Stroke

When blood vessels harden in the brain or the neck it can lead to a stroke. However, there may also be other reasons. It could be that individuals who neglect their oral health are less likely to seek out medical care for certain conditions or take medications as prescribed, hypothesized researchers.

Whatever the direct cause, it still leaves open the question as to whether treating gum disease can help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients?

In attempt to answer this question, researchers used data collected by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Using the data, researchers group over 6,700 adults that had yet to suffer a stroke into categories based on their level of gum disease and followed them for 15 years. The participants in the study were predominantly white, female, and of an average age of 62.

Nearly 300 strokes were recorded throughout the study’s 15-year window.

Even after researchers had adjusted their findings to consider alternative risk factors – such as age, race, and current health – the risk of stroke was still higher among individuals suffering from more advanced forms of gum disease.

The link between stroke and gum disease progression was strongest for two types of clotting, or ischemic strokes. About half (47 percent) were thrombotic strokes. These are due to clot formation in an artery of the brain. A quarter (26 percent) were cardioembolic strokes, which occur when a blood clot moves from the heart into the brain.

Your Oral Health Matters

While the results of this and other studies has fallen short of researchers recommending dentists to say to patients that brushing and flossing will help prevent heart attack and stroke, a very real connection does exist.

Considering what research has discovered, the message your Sonora dentist to take away from this information is that you need to take care of your mouth. Your oral health matters now and into the future.

To successfully lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, arthritis, cancer, and other chronic diseases, you need to treat your oral health just as importantly as heart, kidney, blood pressure, and liver health. Lowering your risk means not only practicing quality oral hygiene at home, but also scheduling regular exams and cleanings with your Sonora dentist. Only through prevention can you ensure not only a great looking smile, but a healthier body overall.

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