It is fairly well-known that gum disease in Mankato is associated with a number of serious health conditions, including dementia, cardiovascular disease, preterm birth, and stroke. Since May is National Stroke Awareness Month, it is the perfect time to take a closer look at the link between gum disease and stroke. After considering this information, you should be more determined than ever to fight gum disease and thus protect your long-term well-being.
Stroke and Your Gums
A number of studies have found that individuals with gum disease are at an increased risk of stroke, particularly ischemic stroke (wherein a blood clot prevents oxygen from getting to the brain). For example, in 2004, researchers in Germany established a connection between severe periodontitis (advanced gum disease) and the risk of ischemic stroke. A study in Greece in 2012 uncovered similar results. Other research has indicated that any form of gum disease, including gingivitis (the mildest form of gum disease) may increase the risk of stroke.
Even more troubling is the fact that there is an association between the tooth loss that gum disease causes and silent strokes. Silent strokes are those that individuals do not know about because they do not present any obvious handicaps. Over time, multiple silent strokes can greatly increase a person’s risk of dementia.
Is It a Causal Relationship?
Clearly, there is a correlation between gum disease and stroke. Does that mean, though, that gum disease causes stroke? More research is necessary to fully understand the connection between the two conditions. However, it is worth noting that gum disease is associated with inflammation throughout the body, which can cause the arteries to harden and lead to blood flow problems. Therefore, even if gum disease does not directly cause stroke, it is certainly a significant risk factor for it.
Protect Yourself from Stroke Through Oral Healthcare
Clearly, it is worth every effort to fight gum disease. Doing so can help you to preserve your overall health and help you enjoy a higher quality of life for as long as possible. Some of the keys to fighting gum disease include:
- Stick to a thorough daily oral hygiene routine that includes once-daily flossing and twice-daily brushing
- Do not smoke or chew tobacco
- Do your best to manage your overall health, particularly if you have diabetes
It is also vital that you visit your dentist in Mankato for evaluation at your recommended interval. If they notice any early signs of gum disease, they can help you manage it before it becomes severe and requires surgical treatment.
Are you doing all you can to protect yourself from stroke? Something as simple as improving your oral healthcare routine may save you from this serious and life-threatening condition.
About the Author
Dr. James Kalina is an experienced general dentist who has been serving the Mankato community for many years. He helps his patients battle gum disease through both preventive and interventive care. If you would like to talk to him about improving the health of your gums, contact our team today at 507-625-2021.