The relation between strokes and oral health

Sep 23, 2022

When you think of a stroke, you probably don’t think of your mouth. Most people don’t know that there is a link between oral health and strokes. But a visit to a Manotick Dentist can help to avoid this problem.

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a medical condition that is caused by either a blood clot in the brain or a blood vessel in the brain bursting. Either of these situations will cause an interruption in blood flow and oxygen fully reaching all areas of the brain. The physical signs include:

  • Drooping or paralysis on one side of the face.
  • Impaired speech.
  • Confusion.
  • Weakness in the extremities (generally the arm) on one side of the body.

Anyone of any age can suffer from a stroke, but those most at risk include:

  • Those aged 65 or older
  • Statistics show that people of African-American descent are twice as prone to this condition and are more likely to die from a stroke.
  • Lifestyles like lower activity levels, smoking, obesity, and conditions like high blood pressure all lead to a stroke.

Some studies have connected poor oral health and those individuals who have experienced a stroke.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease result from bacteria accumulating in the mouth. Symptoms include red or swollen gums. The gums may also pull away from the tooth. Bleeding often occurs. With proper treatment and improved oral health procedures, this condition can be slowed or greatly improved.

Regular dental visits can identify the early stages of gum disease and allow for early intervention. Brushing and flossing after meals will undoubtedly be beneficial. If that is not possible, chewing some sugarless gum will help remove food particles.  

The link between strokes and oral health.

As mentioned, gum disease is too many bacteria causing an infection. If that infection spreads into the bloodstream, clots are more likely to form. If lodged in the brain, these clots will result in a stroke. Studies are ongoing, and it is uncertain if gum disease causes vascular problems or vascular insufficiency results in gum disease. However, there is clearly a link between the two. Gum disease is also linked to diabetes, some cancers, and Alzheimer’s.

Individuals who have experienced a stroke may need assistance with activities of daily living, including dental care. Others who are diagnosed with cognitive issues or physical issues may also need help remembering and executing good oral health.

Regular checkups can help.

It is not too late. Improving oral health techniques and frequency can help prevent gum disease and other associated issues. Regular dental checkups with our Manotick dentist and good oral hygiene practices can help prevent gum disease. Your oral health is closely linked to your overall health, so don’t overlook it. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.