Strokes and cerebral hemorrhages are some of the most terrifying health emergencies in the world. They can strike anyone anywhere at any time in their life. The results are often catastrophic, resulting in permanent disability or even sudden death.
These complications are terrifying to think about, especially in light of a recent study that found a direct link between poor oral hygiene and hemorrhagic stroke risk. At Edgewood Dental Care we want to help you eliminate as much of the risk as possible – you’ll be surprised at just how easy it can be!
Strokes And Smiles: What’s The Connection?
Our mouths are full of bacteria – over 300 strains on average, in fact. Many strains of oral bacteria are harmless, but it’s not those that we’re concerned about today: it’s one specific strain that’s found in around ten percent of the population: Streptococcus mutans. While only one in ten of us carry S. mutans in our mouths nearly a third of strokes victims are carriers – that’s a huge difference.
S. mutans isn’t the only oral bacteria that can contribute to health risks, but it is a huge contributor to stroke risks. While we’ve long known about the stroke risks related to poor oral health the S. mutans study has provided insight as to how exactly the bacteria travels from the mouth to the brain.
When S. mutans gets into your bloodstream it latches on to older, more vulnerable red blood cells and rides them through your body until it gets to your brain. Once there it’s adept at finding the weak spots in your brain’s arteries. It latches on to those spots, where it starts reproducing. This weakens the artery wall and over time causes a hemorrhage or stroke.
How Does Oral Bacteria Get Into Your Bloodstream?
If you’re in the ten percent who’s living with S. mutans you might think your fate is sealed, but it isn’t. Here’s where good oral hygiene comes in!
There are two ways that oral bacteria typically makes it into the bloodstream: gum disease and severe tooth decay. Without proper preventive dental care it’s easy to end up developing either or both, and it isn’t just carriers of S. mutans that need to worry about health complications at that point.
Even the earliest symptoms of gum disease cause bleeding, making it the perfect opportunity for bacteria to get into your bloodstream. Oral bacteria gets under your gums, where it causes inflammation, swelling, discoloration, sensitivity, and bleeding at even the slightest touch. If you see blood when you’re brushing your teeth it’s not something to take lightly: you’re dealing with the early stages of gum disease!
It’s easy to tell when gum disease is starting – you’ll notice the bleeding. It’s entirely different when a cavity gets to the root of a tooth and starts infecting your dental pulp. If you’re lucky you’ll have a toothache and seek care, but not everyone hurts when their root becomes infected.
Cavities let bacteria into your bloodstream just like gum disease does, only it can go a lot longer without being noticed. Yet another reason why oral hygiene is so important!
Preventing The Spread Of Oral Bacteria
Like we mentioned above, the greatest cause of oral bacteria getting into your bloodstream is oral bacteria. If you practice good oral hygiene at home and with regular professional care you’ll be doing all you can to stop it from finding its way around your body.
There are three practices which are hallmarks of good dental care. If you remove any one of these three from the equation you won’t be doing everything you can to keep yourself healthy!
- Brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time.
- Floss between all of your teeth every night before bed.
- See your dentist every six months for a comprehensive exam and cleaning.
Taking care of your teeth at home is essential, but you simply can’t reach all the spots that need scrubbing. That’s where our Edgewood dentist office comes in: we’re old pros at finding all the oral bacteria hiding in your teeth! Paired with a complete exam of your mouth to catch the earliest signs of trouble, you’ll be able to keep smiling for years to come.
Stay Healthy: Call Today!
The results are in: your oral health is an essential part of keeping your whole body healthy. Giving your teeth the care they need can stop strokes, kidney failure, heart disease, high blood pressure, and a whole bunch of other problems. Don’t take risks with your life just to cut a few corners!