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Did You Know There is a Connection Between a Stroke and Oral Health?

Older man having mouth examined by dentist

There is a surplus of evidence that connects your overall health to your oral health, and recent studies have found that poor oral health may increase your chances of having a stroke. While there is no way to entirely prevent a stroke, it’s important to do what you can to maintain good oral health to lower your risk.

How Oral Health and a Stroke are Connected

Who is at a Higher Risk for a Stroke?

While anyone can suffer from a stroke, there are a few factors that increase your risk. These can include those who:

  • Struggle with other chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes
  • Smoke or use tobacco products
  • Struggle with high red blood cell counts or cholesterol
  • Are over the age of 55

How Does Oral Health Factor In?

When you don’t practice good oral hygiene, you may find yourself struggling with gum disease. Studies have found that, if left untreated, the bacteria in your mouth can travel into your bloodstream and cause inflammation that can lead to blood clots, increasing your risks for stroke.

It's also important to note that a stroke can lead to poor oral health as well, further exacerbating the problem. If a person has suffered a stroke, they may be left with facial paralysis that can allow food to get caught in between teeth without the person realizing it, leading to plaque buildup and a higher risk for gum disease and the resulting connected chronic health issues.

Certain medications that are taken to reduce the chances of having a stroke can also cause a decrease in saliva production, and the resulting dry mouth could put you at a higher risk for gum disease.

Lowering Your Risk for Stroke

As mentioned earlier, there is no way to entirely prevent a stroke. However, you can work to lower your risk by:

  • Practicing good oral hygiene at home
  • Keeping up with routine dental cleanings and exams to prevent gum disease in the first place
  • Using an oral rinse if you struggle with a dry mouth as a result of taking certain medications
  • Working with your doctor to manage existing chronic health conditions

Trusted Dentists in New York and New Jersey

At ProHEALTH Dental, your dental needs will be met no matter how complex your situation may be. All of our care is performed by fully-credentialed members of the ProHEALTH Dental network, so there’s no need to go elsewhere for specialty dental care.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our many convenient locations.

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