Stroke and Oral Health: Is There a Connection?

Jan 01, 2023

What Is a Stroke?

It is also called cerebrovascular accident (CVA), a condition that affects the normal functioning of the brain. It occurs when a blood vessel bursts in the brain or a blood clot limits oxygen from getting to the brain.

How Do You Know You Have a Stroke?

At Anchorage Dental Arts, the most common signs of a stroke we have witnessed are:

  1. Drooping face
  2. Slurred or impaired speech
  3. Weakness in the arms or legs
  4. Immobility in one side of the body
  5. Problems with coordination
  6. Vertigo
  7. Numbness or reduced sensation of touch
  8. Double vision, Blurred vision, or sudden visual loss

Who Is Most Likely to Suffer a Stroke?

Strokes are more common as you get older. Some of the risk factors for a stroke are:

  1. Being over 65 years
  2. Poor lifestyle choices like smoking
  3. Obesity or being overweight
  4. Underlying health issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes

What Is the Connection between A Stroke and Oral Health?

The relationship between a stroke and oral health mainly concerns dental inflammation. Usually, when you have bacterial overgrowth in your mouth, it leads to inflammation of the soft tissues. The worse the infection is, the higher the chances of spreading and traveling to other body parts.

Studies show a connection between gum disease and a stroke. The bacteria that cause periodontal disease can spread to other body parts, including your brain and heart. Should the bacteria seep into other body parts through the bloodstream, it inflames the blood vessels. The result can be blood clots that are closely linked to strokes.

Further, the link between oral health and strokes can happen the other way around. A stroke can leave you impaired so you have a hard time caring for your oral health. For example, poor oral hygiene allows plaque buildup in your mouth, resulting in gum disease, among other oral problems.

Therefore, the connection between poor oral health and strokes is quite strong, no matter how you look at it. Patients cannot afford to slack in their dental health if they intend to lead healthy lives.

How Can You Avoid a Stroke?

Various things can help you prevent strokes from happening. However, from a dental point of view, you must incorporate a few things into your lifestyle to ensure that a stroke does not occur due to oral-related conditions. Some of them include:

  1. Routine dental cleanings – you are missing out on a great opportunity to maintain excellent oral health if you are not visiting your Anchorage dentist once every 3 to 6 months. Your dental health is tied to good oral hygiene. Therefore, do not skip visiting the dental offices near you periodically for cleanings. Besides, visiting your dentist regularly allows for oral evaluations that detect anomalies early.
  2. Healthy meals – eating healthily is an incredible way to care for your oral and general body health. Healthy foods are low in sugars that promote bacterial overgrowth in the mouth. Such a lifestyle will lower your risk of gum disease and other dental infections. Besides, healthy eating boosts your immune system, lowering the risks of health conditions like obesity and high cholesterol.
  3. Brush twice a day and floss once daily.
  4. Limit your alcohol consumption and quit smoking – they heighten your risk of gum disease, promote inflammation, and risk causing oral cancer.
  5. Seek treatment for underlying health conditions – learn to manage your health if you have diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure.
  6. Drink a lot of water – professionals have found that drinking about 8 glasses of water a day reduces the risk of a stroke by up to 53%. Besides, water can reduce the risk of bacterial infections in the mouth. It neutralizes the acidity that causes oral diseases. Further, water is great at flushing out impurities from the mouth and the body.
  7. Reduce your intakes of diets high in sodium – like fried foods or sodas. These foods risk heightening your blood pressure, leading to strokes. Besides, such foods can also hurt your gum and teeth healthy with regular consumption.