In the past few years as new research continues to be discovered, it is becoming more recognized that your oral health is a window to your overall health. So much so that new studies are suggesting that the common bacteria found within the mouth have been found in people who have had a stroke. In fact, the bacteria within your mouth that typically cause inflammation in the form of gingivitis and periodontitis can also lower your body’s immunity against infections, making other systemic issues more severe. It is important to know about the link between the health of your mouth and body.
According to research published in the Journal of American Heart Association from the University of Tampere, Streptococcus Viridans, a bacteria normaly found within the mouth, was present in the cerebral emboli of people who had a stroke. The study looked at 75 individuals who suffered from a stroke, and is the first study to show the presence of this specific bacteria within ischemic stroke patients. Although this bacteria is typically harmless in the mouth, when it enters the blood stream it has been associated with an increased risk of infection of the cardiovascular system by increasing the likelihood of forming blood clots. Approxmiately 87% of strokes are a result of blood clots within the cerebral artery.
Prior research has also found other oral bacteria in patients who have experienced a heart attack, endocarditis, ruptured cerebral aneurysms, and arterial and venous thrombosis.
So, what can you do to protect your oral health? With this knowledge in mind, practicing good oral hygiene habits is necessary to prevent serious illnesses and even increase your lifespan. Visiting your dentist can be the best start to get a check up on your health. Also, make sure you are avoiding harmful habits including smoking and excessive alcohol use.