Oral health and gum disease have been linked to a variety of different conditions. Lupus, heart disease, and other issues have a direct connection to your oral health and hygiene. Dr. Brenda Paulen, a dentist in Sandy Springs, GA, discusses recent studies done that connect gum disease and stroke risk, and the importance of keeping your oral health pristine.
According to two studies on the link between gum disease and stroke presented at the American Stroke Association International Stroke Conference 2020, there’s a confirmed connection between gum disease and stroke risk. The first found that patients with gum disease were more likely to have a stroke from blood vessels in the brain. It also found that it was twice as likely for gum disease sufferers to have a stroke in the back of the brain, which controls many vital bodily functions.
In the second study, they found that people with gingivitis were 2.4 times more likely to have severely blocked arteries in the brain. They also were found to have much more narrowed brain arteries due to plaque buildup. It was noted that they’re working on a study to see if treating gum disease can reduce the correlation with stroke.
The Oral-Systemic Connection
Your mouth is filled with multiple kinds of bacteria. The harmful ones form plaque, the sticky substance that collects on your teeth. Getting plaque below the gum line starts gum disease. You may notice that your gums are swelling and bleed when you brush or floss. These are signs that gingivitis is developing. However, many people brush it off. And that’s when the real problems start.
Pockets form and the plaque builds up in it. This is how these oral bacteria can get in your bloodstream. However, the inflammation that gum disease causes is just as bad, if not worse, for your body. Your body has to constantly respond to try and fight that inflammation and infection. This causes changes in your body and makes it use resources that could be used somewhere else.
Signs of Gum Disease
While the early signs may be hard to discern, you should call your Sandy Springs, GA dentist immediately if you notice symptoms. Treating early-stage gum disease is a simple process. However, once gum disease progresses, those risk factors come into play. It can also lead to problems such as receding gums and tooth loss. If you’re noticing any of these signs, call us today:
- Bleeding when you brush your teeth or floss
- Red or swollen gums
- Constant bad breath
- Mouth sores
- Receding gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
- A change in fit if you wear dentures