Dental disease leading to stroke
Stroke And Dental Health
Varying degrees of periodontal disease (gum disease) are associated with strokes. Mild gum disease, which causes inflammation of the gums, is called gingivitis, while more serious gum disease that causes the actual destruction of the gums is called periodontitis. Severe periodontitis can lead to tooth decay and eventually even tooth loss. All three of these types of gum disease are associated with a stroke — even the mildest form, which is gingivitis.
Severe periodontal disease and tooth loss was a strong predictor of stroke, and even that people who had lost more teeth had usually experienced more strokes. Tooth loss was found to be a predictor of silent strokes. Silent strokes are strokes that people don’t know they had because silent strokes don’t cause obvious handicaps. However, over time, the build-up of silent strokes can cause disabling problems such as dementia.
Dental problems such as gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth loss are all associated with inflammation, and sometimes with infection. Infections have been shown to increase the risk of stroke, possibly due to the body’s inflammatory immune response to infections.
Sometimes inflammation and infection can make the blood more likely to clot, causing a stroke. If serious dental problems persist untreated for a long time, the inflammation and infection that result from unhealthy teeth and gums can make an ischemic stroke more likely.
Heart disease related dental issues:
The bacteria that infect the gums that causes gingivitis and periodontitis also travel to blood vessels elsewhere in the body where they cause blood vessel inflammation and damage. This causes tiny blood clots initially and on further leads to heart attack and stroke may follow.
The body’s immune response leads to inflammation that sets off a cascade of vascular damage throughout the body, including the heart and brain.
The bacteria that are associated with gum infection are in the mouth and can enter the blood stream, where they attach to the blood vessels and increase your risk to cardiovascular disease. Even if you don’t have noticeable gum inflammation, however, inadequate oral hygiene and accumulated plaque puts you at risk for gum disease.
- Gum disease (periodontitis) is associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease.
- Poor dental health increases the risk of a bacterial infection in the blood stream, which can affect the heart valves. Oral health may be particularly important if you have artificial heart valves.
- Tooth loss patterns are connected to coronary artery disease.
Other cardiovascular conditions such as atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) and stroke have also been linked to inflammation caused by oral bacteria.
Early stages, if:
- your gums are red, swollen and sore to the touch.
- your gums bleed when you eat, brush or floss.
- you see pus or other signs of infection around the gums and teeth.
- your gums look as if they are “pulling away” from the teeth.
- you frequently have bad breath or notice a bad taste in your mouth.
- or some of your teeth are loose, or feel as if they are moving away from the other teeth.