In the United States, one person dies from a stroke every four minutes. This one statistical fact is enough for the whole nation to start finding out what causes stroke, what we are doing that may turn into a life-threatening stroke one day, and if so, how can it be prevented? This irrevocable question brings us to our query, i.e., is there also a connection between stroke and oral health? If yes, what?
What is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when there is blockage severe enough for the blood to be clotted in the brain’s blood vessels. Blood forms a clot in the vessels, which then prevents the oxygen from being transported successfully to the brain. When the brain faces a shortage of oxygen that cannot pass through the clot, the vessels burst, resulting in a brain stroke. Some of the most common signs of brain stroke include disfigured speech, limpness of the hands and legs, drooping and ill face, and limited mobility. A person who has just had a stroke may not even be able to lift himself up and stand erect on the floor. Often, as a result of stroke, people may become permanently paralyzed in one side of the body or both.
Some risk factors for developing a stroke include people older than 65 years and those who have developed unhealthy ways of living, such as obesity, smoking, drinking alcohol, irregular patterns of sleeping, living in a polluted environment, and stress. Stress is one of the biggest risk factors for stroke, as ongoing stress in life can lead to the ineffective circulation of oxygen inside the body. Studies have also found that African Americans are at a greater risk of developing a stroke in their old age as compared to Caucasians.
Relation between Oral Health and Stroke
One of the most common oral problems that target almost everyone at least once in their lifetime is gum disease. The commonality between gum disease and stroke is inflammation, which results in the bursting of vessels in the stroke and receding of gums in the oral problems. Although no specific connection between inflammation of the gums has been related to the occurrence of stroke, it has been considered a warning sign and a risk factor for developing a stroke. Therefore, people should remain aware of the consequences and change their oral health care routine accordingly.