A very sobering statistic is that stroke is currently the third leading cause of death in the United States, claiming about 140,000 lives each year. Another, seemingly unrelated fact is that nearly 50% of the entire adult population has some form of gum disease. More surprising, however, is that for many people, these two things are connected. In recent years, it has been discovered that the state of a person’s oral health can have a high correlation with their risk of having a stroke. How does this work? Today, your dentist in Lincoln at Pioneer Greens Dentistry is going to discuss how these two seemingly unrelated things can be connected.
The Mouth-Body Connection
An ischemic stroke (the most common type) occurs when a blood vessel that feeds the brain becomes blocked, usually by a blood clot. This can cause the brain to shut down, and brain cells can begin to die very quickly. This can lead to irreversible damage and impact normal brain functions like walking and talking. This sequence of events often occurs because of inflammation in the body, and this is where oral health starts to come in.
The mouth is the gateway to the body, in that pretty much anything in it can easily go everywhere else. This is in large part due to the fact that the gums are very vascular structures (filled with blood vessels), so it’s easy for anything that is on them, including bacteria, to get into your blood stream. If a person develops gum disease, this means their mouth is full of harmful bacteria. This, in turn, can get into the bloodstream and eventually enter the heart. This bacteria can lead to the formation of clots anywhere in the body, including the brain. This is why, in many cases, a person with advanced gum disease will also have a variety of cardiovascular problems. The infection on the gums simply doesn’t stay there, and it can eventually cause a clot to form in the brain.
What You Can Do About It
So now that you have this information, what can you do about it? How can you use this information? One simple approach is to practice consistent oral hygiene at home to keep yourself as healthy as possible. In addition to brushing and flossing every day, you should be sure to clean your gums as well. While brushing your teeth, remember to clean where the teeth meet the gums. This will break up the plaque and bacteria that may be accumulating under your gum line. You should also get regular checkups with your dentist in Lincoln. At Pioneer Greens Dentistry, we will always examine your gums in addition to your teeth to make sure they are perfectly healthy. If you show any signs of an infection, we have a variety of treatments we can use to get rid of it. We know that taking care of your teeth isn’t just essential for your mouth, but for your overall health as well.
When it comes to your overall health, your oral health plays a key role. More and more research is showing that gum disease is correlated with serious conditions such as stroke and cardiovascular disease, so when it comes to taking care of yourself, be sure to always include your teeth and gums.
If you have any questions about how your dental health could be connected to your risk for a stroke, or if you want to schedule a regular hygiene appointment, be sure to contact our office today