Is Stroke Linked to Oral Health?

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The Relationship Between Oral Bacteria and Stroke

By Mark Febus, 9:00 am on March 16, 2016

Maintaining oral hygiene is an essential part of senior home care in Dayton. Not only does it protect teeth from cavities, but it also improves overall health. Recent studies also reveal that reduced levels of oral bacteria can decrease senior risk for heart attack, heart disease, and even strokes.

According to a study by Dr. Robert Friedland for the University of Louisville School of Medicine, oral bacteria have a significant effect on the likelihood of stroke. The study observed the many stroke patients that were treated at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center of Osaka, Japan. It turned out that 26 percent of those who had an intracerebral hemorrhage, which is a stroke that occurs when a cerebral blood vessels burst, had a particular bacterium, Streptococcus mutans, in their saliva. The percentage of those who experience a stroke is higher than the average percentage of healthy people who have S. mutans bacteria in their mouth.

Patients who tested positive for the S. mutans bacteria also had more cerebral microbleeds, which are tiny brain hemorrhages. These microbleeds can cause dementia and greatly increase hemorrhagic stroke risks. The researchers think that the S. mutans bacteria may be able to enter the bloodstream from the mouth where it can then bind to blood vessels that are already weakened due to old age. When the bacteria places stress on these blood vessels in the brain, it can cause them to rupture, and a stroke occurs.

Roughly 10 percent of the general population tests positive for the S. mutans bacteria. Brushing and flossing teeth remove the bacteria and the food particles that the bacteria consume, which is why thorough dental hygiene is the best way to get rid of the bacteria that might be increasing stroke and dementia risk. Dr. Friedland hopes to study these oral bacteria further to see if it may be linked to Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disorders.

If your loved one is currently recovering from stroke, he or she will benefit from Dayton post-stroke care with Home Care Assistance. Our comprehensive stroke care gives seniors the opportunity to recuperate in the comfort of home while our compassionate caregivers help them assist with personal care needs such as bathing, dressing, and grooming. To give your loved one the stroke care he or she deserves, contact us at 937-353-7997 and schedule a free consultation. 

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