When we think about self-care, we typically think of improving our diet for gut and heart health, pampering our skin to look younger, and taking a spa day to relax our muscles and clear our minds. At Contemporary Dentistry, we think it’s time to start adding oral health into the self-care cycle.
We’ve already discussed the links between gum disease and pancreatic cancer, how sleep apnea impacts heart health, and how the bacteria in your mouth might lead to Alzheimer’s disease. But what about stroke? If bacteria from your mouth can lead to Alzheimer’s, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that oral bacteria can lead to an increased risk of stroke, too.
Your Teeth and Brain Are Connected
Your holistic dentists in Rochester are dedicated to improving your overall health as we care for your oral health. At first, this may seem like a strange concept, but the more you learn about the bacteria in your mouth, you might wonder why all dentists aren’t adopting a more holistic model.
In May, researchers at the University of Tampere in Finland announced that they’d discovered the same bacteria that exists in our mouths in the cerebral emboli of stroke patients. The findings, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, suggest that the streptococcal bacteria, which originate mostly from the mouth, can contribute to stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases.
What Causes a Stroke?
A stroke is like a heart attack in the brain. It occurs when a clot forms somewhere in the brain, cutting off blood and oxygen flow. The loss of oxygen and blood can actually kill part of the brain. Small strokes can lead to temporary weakness of certain muscles and more serious strokes can cause memory loss, paralysis or even render patients unable to speak.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year, killing about 140,000 of them. However, there are ways you can decrease your risk of stroke, especially considering the new findings from Finland.
Decrease Your Risk of Stroke
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity and diabetes are all leading causes of stroke, and we’ve known this for a while. However, thanks to the researchers out of the University of Tampere, we now know we can do more to decrease our risk.
The streptococcal bacteria found in the brain originated mostly from the patients’ mouths. Eliminate that bacteria – or as much of it as we can – and it will decrease the chance of the bacteria traveling to the brain. Brushing your teeth twice and flossing once daily can clean harmful bacteria and prevent plaque buildup. It’s also important to visit us at least twice each year for dental cleanings and checkups. We have the tools to deeply clean your teeth, removing the plaque that you can’t reach at home.
Improve Your Teeth, Improve Your Health
If you are concerned about your overall health, are ready for a dental cleaning, or have questions about plaque buildup, our holistic dentists can improve your oral health and build a strong foundation for your overall health.