Lowering Risk of Stroke Through Oral Hygiene

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About Dr. Peter Zwier

For over 30 years, Dr. Peter J. Zwier has been providing a broad range of general and cosmetic dental services to Grand Rapids, meeting the needs of your whole family in one convenient location. Your oral health is extremely important to your body’s wellbeing, and a beautiful smile is a wonderful asset at any age.

Every few minutes, someone in the United States loses their life because due to stroke. There are many things that cause strokes, and improper oral hygiene is one of them.

What Is A Stroke?

A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks oxygen from getting into the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. People who are having a stroke will have symptoms such as a drooping face, slurred speech, numbness, and the inability to walk. A stroke can happen to anyone, but the people who are more at risk are:

  • People over the age of 65. Anyone over the age of 65 is at an increased risk for stroke.
  • African Americans. This is partly due to higher rates of blood pressure within the community.
  • Poor oral hygiene. Those that have poor oral hygiene, especially gum disease, are more at risk for stroke.
  • Poor lifestyle choices. People that make poor lifestyle choices like living a sedentary lifestyle, being obese and smoking are all at an increased risk for stroke.

The Connection Between Oral Health And Stroke

The connection between the two is due to inflammation. When there is an overload of bacteria in the mouth that comes from gum disease, it can cause an infection. If the infection is not treated quickly enough, the bacteria can go into the bloodstream, which will then cause inflammation. When there is inflammation in the blood, this makes it more likely to clot, which may lead to a stroke.
Vascular inflammation may also occur due to this inflammation, which can increase the risk of having a stroke. This inflammation from gum disease has also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Getting Proper Oral Care

To avoid having a stroke, you will want to make sure that you have good oral care practices. This will help to minimize the risk of stroke. Proper oral health practices include:

  • Brushing. You should be brushing twice a day to help minimize bacteria and plaque build-up in your mouth.
    • Flossing. Flossing will help to eliminate plaque and harmful bacteria. It is very important to floss daily. It takes plaque 24 hours to build up. If you floss daily you eliminate that from happening.
  • Dental visits. Seeing your dentist on a regular basis will ensure that you are on top of your oral health. Ideally, you will see your dentist every six months if you have a healthy mouth. If you have periodontal disease it is necessary to come in every 3 months. The type of bacteria that produce periodontal disease (which can cause or exacerbate problems with your heart and blood flow leading to strokes) return to the deeper pockets around the teeth in 3 months after your last periodontal scaling and root planning or maintenance appointment. This is because brushing and flossing alone cannot remove the bacteria from the pockets without the work of the dentist or dental hygienist.
  • Diet. Having a healthy diet that is free from sugar will help to ensure that your teeth are healthy and help to minimize issues with cavities and infections.

Schedule an Appointment

If you want to make sure that your teeth are in good health, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Zwier today. Simply fill out our online contact form, and one of our receptionists will contact you quickly to schedule an appointment.