Stroke and Oral Health: Is There a Link?

How important is oral hygiene? Is it restricted to the mouth only or is it in some way connected to the cardiac function? Let's find out!

What Happens During a Stroke?

To get a clearer view of the link between oral hygiene and strokes, you first need to have a full understanding of how strokes occur and who’s at risk.
A stroke is typically caused by a blood clot that obstructs the flow of oxygen to the brain or when one of the brain’s vessels bursts. In any case, a stroke can be fatal for the person if the signs aren’t identified on time. Some of the most common indications of a stroke are:
  • A stooping face
  • Weakness in the arms and legs
  • Impaired speech
  • Blurred vision

Who’s at Risk?

According to a 2019 report released by the American Heart Association, every forty seconds, someone in the United States suffers from a stroke, which makes up for nearly 795,000 people having affected by a recurring or new stroke every year. A 2015 report revealed that strokes result in over 140,000 deaths every year in the US.
The AHA report also revealed that;
  • Elder people who are 65 or above, are at a higher risk of strokes. In 2009, 34 percent of all reported stroke cases were of people who were below 65, which means a whopping 66% cases were of more senior adults who aged above 65.
  • Individuals who make unhealthy lifestyle choices run a higher risk of becoming a victim of stroke. An inactive or sedentary lifestyle, smoking, unhealthy food choices (may lead to cholesterol problems, hypertension, and diabetes), obesity, poor oral hygiene, and some other factors have been found to increase the risks of strokes.

What’s the Connection Between Stroke and Poor Oral Health

For a happy and healthy heart, oral hygiene plays an important role. Poor oral hygiene can lead to bacterial growth in the mouth that can further result in tooth and gum diseases in the long run, such as gingivitis, tooth decay, cavities, and tooth decalcification.
But the bacteria don’t stop there, if it’s not taken care of on time. It enters the blood stream and causes inflammation in the blood. This leads to the formation of blood clots that obstruct the blood flow to the brain and result in a stroke.
Although there is room for more research that the link between gum disease and vessel inflammation, there’s still ample evidence for people to start paying attention to their oral health. According to a 2017 research, adults who struggled with gum disease were twice as likely to experience stroke; however, the root cause is yet to be identified.
Prevention is better than cure—and it also stands true when it comes to maintaining your oral health to lower the risk of a stroke. Schedule an appointment today for high quality dental cleaning and periodontal maintenance by one of the best dentists in Germantown.
At Advanced Dental Center, we have a team of dental experts who specialize in preventative dentistry and other areas of dental science including root canal, teeth whitening, fluoride treatment, sedation dentistry, and others. Call us at (301) 353-8890 for more information!