Most people wouldn’t associate their oral health with illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, or strokes. But, recent research has uncovered a connection between strokes and gum disease that is redefining the importance of visiting your dentist for your semi-annual checkups and cleanings. 1 in every 2 American adults is affected by gum disease, and every 4 minutes a person in America dies from a stroke. Both of these common health issues are associated with inflammation. Your dentist in Columbia breaks down the facts about gum disease and strokes and how they’re related.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a bacterial infection that causes your oral tissues to become inflamed due to a buildup of tartar and plaque below the gumline. Often caused by poor oral hygiene, once this disease reaches its advanced stages, the symptoms can’t be reversed. It causes your gums to turn red, become swollen, and bleed.
When left untreated, harmful bacteria can emit toxins and get into your bloodstream and travel throughout your body. These toxins cause inflammation, bone loss, and decay, resulting in tooth loss and receding gums.
What is a Stroke?
Strokes occur when there isn’t enough oxygen getting to the brain because of blood clots or when a blood vessel in the brain erupts. People who are older, smoke, consume excessive amounts of alcohol, or are unhealthy are often at a higher risk of experiencing this. Most factors that are associated with increased risk of stroke aren’t preventable, but taking the necessary steps when you’re experiencing a stroke can prevent permanent damage to your body.
How are the Two Connected?
A German study conducted in 2004 determined that patients suffering from gum disease who are under the age of 60 are at an increased risk of experiencing an ischemic stroke. This kind of stroke happens when a blood vessel to the brain is blocked, preventing proper oxygen flow. An additional study conducted in 2012 determined the same thing; however, the researchers stated that this needed to be investigated further.
If you’re experiencing less severe symptoms of gum disease such as irritation and bleeding, your dentist can treat and even reverse them. By visiting your dentist for your semi-annual checkups and cleanings, you can get any built-up plaque and tartar removed from your gumline and control the number of harmful bacteria in your mouth.
Both stroke and gum disease are known for causing inflammation that could lead to serious health issues. You can protect your overall wellbeing as well as save yourself time and money by regularly seeing your dentist. Tackling the small problems before they turn into big ones can help you avoid future stress and hassle. Feel healthy and safe by getting the green light from your dental professional on your health!
About the Author
To Dr. Philip Batson, being a dentist is more than just a career— it’s a family tradition built on providing his community with the oral healthcare they deserve. Whether his patients are looking for gum disease therapy or a regular checkup and cleaning, he’ll take the time to understand your needs so you can get the necessary treatment. He strives to create a warm and welcoming environment for everyone to feel comfortable in. For any questions or to schedule an appointment, visit his website or contact 573-875-7071.