Strokes and Your Oral Health: Know the Connection

May is Stroke Awareness Month

Strokes are widely known to be linked to diabetes and high blood pressure. There’s also a condition linking stroke dental health.

The condition is periodontal (gum) disease. Health professionals have been aware of the connection between gum disease and strokes for some time now. A recent study released by the Seoul National University-College of Dentistry in Seoul, North Korea, indicates just how serious the link is: gum disease is twice as likely to cause a stroke as diabetes, and equally as likely to cause stroke as high blood pressure.

You might wonder how gum disease can cause strokes. Dr. Tiejan Wu, from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and his colleagues studied 10,000 adults over 21 years of age to assess the link. Dr. Wu concluded that bad bacteria in the mouth of a gum disease sufferer can enter the bloodstream, stimulate clotting, and damage the lining of blood vessels. A stroke occurs when a clot blocks a blood vessel or when impaired flow or a ruptured vessel causes brain hemorrhaging (bleeding).

Scientists have yet to find the specific bacteria behind the stroke risk, but you can still protect yourself. Use proper dental hygiene at home and make appointments for dental cleanings and check-ups every six months. Your dentist will assess your oral health during your appointment and screen you for gum disease in a matter of minutes. If you have gum disease, early treatment can prevent serious consequences.

I’m Dr James DeFinnis, and I can help protect your oral and overall health. I offer state-of-the-art general and sedation dentistry for patients in Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Trucksville, and surrounding areas. Call Back Mountain Dental today at 570-763-4360 for your consultation or appointment.

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