Oral Health: Does It Contribute to Stroke Risk?

A Healthy Mouth May Reduce Stroke Risk

By Will Reid, 9:00 am on

Researchers have recently discovered an interesting new connection between certain types of oral bacteria and an increased risk for stroke. This research has some significant implications for senior citizens who may already be at an increased risk due to age and other medical conditions. This information is also pertinent for family caregivers who provide post-stroke care in Cincinnati due to a prior incident. Read on to learn more about oral hygiene’s role in stroke risk.

The Link Between Oral Bacteria and Stroke

A study at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center in Japan found that a particular kind of oral bacteria was present in 26 percent of their patients who were admitted for hemorrhagic stroke. This is a type of stroke where arteries in the brain rupture and cause severe internal bleeding. It is believed that this oral bacteria binds to blood vessels that may already be weakened by age or chronically high blood pressure that weakens them further and causes them to rupture.

While this particular type of bacteria was prevalent only in patients with hemorrhagic stroke, another study has found a correlation between ischemic stroke, a stroke caused by a blockage in the arteries, and chronic periodontal disease. Gingivitis and periodontitis occur when bacteria gets below the gum line and causes inflammation. These bacteria can spread through the bloodstream and cause inflammation elsewhere in the body. Inflammation is known to cause atherosclerosis, or a hardening of the arteries, which increases the risk for stroke.

Implications for Seniors

The connection between oral health and stroke risk has significant implications for seniors. This is because the elderly often experience dental problems due to aging teeth, side effects from medications, or a lifetime of bad oral hygiene habits. It is important for Cincinnati elderly care providers to help their loved ones maintain proper dental hygiene by ensuring they brush and floss regularly in addition to visiting their dentist every six months.

Many seniors are at a high risk for stroke for a variety of reasons, but new research is showing that good dental health may help reduce this risk. Cincinnati caregivers can ensure their loved ones maintain proper hygiene practices with help from Home Care Assistance of Cincinnati. We provide flexible live-in and hourly Cincinnati home care for seniors who need help with activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, and dental care. Let us help your loved one age in place by calling 513.891.2273 today and scheduling a free in-home consultation with a knowledgeable Care Manager.