Lowering Your Risks of Gum Disease & Strokes
Often, patients forget that their oral health doesn’t exist in a vacuum — but instead can have a big impact on their overall well-being. For instance, did you know that gum disease could double your risk of having a stroke? Gum disease (periodontal disease) is a common oral health problem that could lead to one of the most serious health problems out there.
But don’t worry – there are plenty of things you can do to prevent gum disease in the first place. Keep reading to learn more about the relationship between gum disease and strokes, as well as how to protect yourself from this severe condition.
Risk Factors for Gum Disease
Gum disease occurs when a patient’s gums are inflamed, causing bleeding gums and possible tooth or bone loss. There are several risk factors for gum disease, including:
- Smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products
- Poor oral hygiene habits
- Certain medications (such as steroids)
- Age (gum disease is more common in older adults)
Stroke Risk Factors
Strokes affect the arteries leading to and within the brain. They occur when a blood vessel is either blocked by a clot or bursts. There are also a number of risk factors for strokes, including:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- History of stroke or mini-stroke (TIA)
- Family history of stroke
- Ethnicity (African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans are at higher risk than Caucasians)
How The Two Are Connected
It’s been well known that there is an increased risk of various brain diseases such as dementia for patients with gum disease. Gum disease has also recently been linked to an increased risk of stroke. In fact, people with gum disease are twice as likely to have a stroke. While the exact connection between the two is still being explored, there are several ways that gum disease could lead to a stroke.
While you may not be able to completely avoid your chance of gum disease, there are several things you can do to protect yourself from gum disease and strokes. Here are some key prevention techniques:
- Quit smoking or using tobacco products; smoking increases your risk of gum disease and stroke.
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride.
- Floss your teeth once a day.
- See your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.
- Keep your blood pressure under control; high blood pressure increases your risk of stroke.
- Keep your cholesterol levels under control; high cholesterol increases your risk of stroke.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Manage your diabetes; diabetes increases your risk of gum disease and stroke.
- Take medications as prescribed by your doctor.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
Protecting Your Smile & Gums
Gum disease and strokes are two serious health problems that are closely related. It’s important to understand the risk factors for both conditions and take steps to prevent them. By following the prevention tips listed above, you can help keep yourself healthy and free from gum disease and strokes.
An essential part of proper oral care is visiting your periodontist regularly for checkups. Our competent team at Progressive Periodontics is committed to helping and treating every one of our patients with tooth loss prevention and improvement of their overall oral health. Whatever level of periodontal disease you find yourself dealing with, our compassionate and professional staff will work tirelessly to aid in repairing your gums and supporting tissues and bone structure.
Contact our team today for a consultation: (503) 966-3780