Most of us probably think that preventing strokes is as simple as eating right and exercising regularly. While those can certainly help, keeping from having a stroke also involves taking care of your dental health. Studies have found that people with gum disease in Frisco were up to twice as likely to have a stroke than people without gum disease. So, what’s the connection between the two? Let’s take a closer look.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection in which bacteria attack both the hard and soft structures supporting the teeth and keeping them anchored to the gums. Most of the time, it’s caused by not brushing and flossing as much as you should, although it can be the result of other habits like smoking or conditions like poorly controlled diabetes.
The increased number of bacteria in the mouth contribute to tooth loss. The bacteria cause inflammation that eventually makes the teeth separate from the gums. However, if it’s caught early enough, the symptoms of gum disease can be reversed, with no harm done.
How Is Gum Disease Related to Strokes?
A stroke occurs when a blood clot keeps oxygen from getting to the brain, or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. The main connection it has to gum disease involves inflammation.
When you have an infection, your body inflames the area as an immune system response. Oral bacteria from gum disease can spread throughout the body and set off a chain reaction of inflammation in several different areas, including the heart, lungs, and brain. This is why it’s more important than ever to take care of your oral health, because you’re really taking care of your general health.
How Can You Prevent Gum Disease?
There are several steps you can take to keep gum disease, and strokes, at bay:
- Visit your dentist in Frisco twice a year for checkups and cleaning.
- Quit smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Clean your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste.
- Floss at least once a day, if not after every meal or snack.
- Eat mouth-healthy foods like yogurt, cheese, and fresh vegetables.
Preventing stroke is about more than dieting and working out. It’s also about making sure your teeth and gums are in excellent shape. Follow the steps listed above to protect your dental health. It could save your life.
About the Author
Dr. Brett Amedro earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Michigan. He then completed a residency in general dentistry at the Veteran’s Hospital of Denver. Through this residency, he obtained special training in periodontal therapy to treat gum disease. To learn more about oral habits to protect your heart, click here or call the doctor at (970) 668-1010.