Gum Disease May Signal Stroke Risk
Adults with gum disease are at double the risk of suffering a stroke.
This research was presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference in Houston. According to one of the authors of a recent study, Dr. Souvik Sen, chair of neurology at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, “The higher the level of gum disease, the worse the risk”.
The findings showed that stroke risk rose with the level of gum disease. It was 1.9 times, 2.1 times and 2.2 times higher in individuals with mild, moderate and severe gum disease. This was an observational study, so it doesn’t prove a cause and effect relationship. What it does show is poor oral health is a marker for poor health internally. It is difficult to know your risk of suffering with a stroke without undergoing some specific medical tests. However, it is easy to look at your gums and see whether they are healthy or not. If your gums are inflamed, the arteries supplying your brain could be too.
Periodontal disease is a chronic gum infection that is thought to affect more than 30 percent of the population of the USA at some stage. The infection is caused by the bacteria present in plaque. The infection causes the gums to become inflamed (called gingivitis). If this is allowed to progress, the gums can erode away, along with the bone that holds the teeth in place. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause the loss of teeth.
It is more common in diabetics, smokers, people with digestive problems and those who don’t consume enough fresh vegetables. Vitamin C helps to improve gum health and can be very helpful for preventing tooth loss. If you experience bleeding gums you really need more vitamin C. Vitamin D is also important for healthy gums, and it helps to reduce inflammation in the body.