Stroke Linked to Gum Disease
Periodontal disease is very prevalent in American adults. About half of them have it, with or without their knowledge. Those who seek treatment can limit their gum disease to its early stages, without sustaining permanent damage. But without regular checkups and cleanings, it’s hard to know where you stand.
Periodontal disease aside, oral health has been linked to general systemic health for a long time. Data reflects a trend toward diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis for observed patients with moderate to severe periodontitis.
A recent study conducted by the University of South Carolina’s School of Medicine presented some disturbing new data to the American Heart Association. Some 6,000 adults in various stages of periodontal disease were observed over 15 years. Of the ischemic (ischemic means related to the blood vessels) strokes recorded in the dataset, subjects were more likely to have suffered one if their periodontitis was in the most severe stage. These subjects were more than twice as likely to suffer a stroke as subjects with no periodontal disease.
Of the strokes recorded, 47 percent were thrombotic, meaning from a clot within the brain’s blood vessels, and 26 percent were cardioembolic, when a clot forms in the heart. These numbers suggest a causal relationship between these kinds of strokes and advanced periodontitis.
Dr. Bijan Afar, periodontist, encourages you to use these findings to firm up your oral hygiene routine. Do not neglect your scheduled checkups and cleanings, as these can help both you and your doctor stay ahead of any progressing symptoms.