WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN STROKE AND ORAL HEALTH?
The current prevalence of stroke in Nigeria is 1.14 per 1000 while the 30-day case fatality rate is as high as 40%. As we learn more and more about how our oral health impacts our overall health, we couldn’t help but wonder if there is a relationship between stroke and oral health.
How does Stroke connected to Oral health?
To understand their connection, we need to understand what a stroke is and who is at risk of having one. A stroke generally occurs when:
- When a blood vessel in the brain burst
- When there is low or no supply of oxygen to the brain due to clots
Someone experiencing a stroke will generally show signs of weak arms, slurred or impaired speech, a drooping face etc. While a stroke can occur in people of all ages, there are specific groups of people at greater risk:
- People 65+ – the risk of stroke increases with age with the majority of stroke victims being age 65 or older.
- African Americans – have twice the risk of stroke than Caucasians and are the group most likely to die from stroke
- Those making poor lifestyle choices – sedentary lifestyle, smoking, obesity, and the diseases that can result from them (like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes) have been found to cause stroke.
Recent studies have found patients who have had a stroke generally had poor oral hygiene practices and oral health. Unfortunately, poor oral health generally results in the development of gum disease.
A CLOSER LOOK AT GUM DISEASE
More than half of the Nigerian population are suffering from one gum disease or the other. They are preventable and generally caused by overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth. With proper treatment, they can most times be effectively slowed.
The best way to avoid gum disease is to keep up with good oral health care practices and following your dentist’s recommendations: brushing twice a day, using floss and mouthwash daily, chewing sugar-free gum between meals when brushing isn’t an option, and seeing your dentist at least twice a year for regular check-ups.
Stroke and Oral Health
Because many Americans are impacted by both gum disease and stroke it’s important to understand the risks and ways to prevent them both. It is more important than ever to stay on top of good oral care practices if you or a loved one has experienced a stroke. Patients who have suffered a stroke may need support in maintaining good oral health care, especially if they have cognitive or physical limitations which prevent them from remembering to complete or performing the tasks properly.
By taking preventive measures against gum disease with good oral care habits, you are also lowering your risk for stroke and several other diseases. The PERFECT TEETH team is here to help support your efforts. Find one of our dental offices in Colorado, New Mexico, or Arizona today.