Dental Tribune UK & Ireland

Periodontitis could increase stroke risk, new study says

By Dental Tribune International
December 09, 2019

BELÉM, Brazil/RUGBY, UK: A recent study has investigated the association between stroke and periodontitis, one of the most common human diseases affecting over 700 million people worldwide. The data indicated that inflamed gingivae lead to changes in how blood and oxygen flow to the brain and may, therefore, increase the risk of stroke.

According to the Oral Health Foundation, periodontitis is still one of the most common health conditions across the UK, currently affecting around 45% of the adult population. To tackle the issue, the charity is encouraging everyone to maintain good oral health to reduce the risk of developing periodontitis and other health complications.

“Gum disease is incredibly common and most people will suffer from it during the course of their lifetime. It is one of the main causes of tooth loss in adults and is increasingly being linked to other general health conditions like heart disease, diabetes and some forms of dementia,” said Dr Nigel Carter, OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation. The prevalence and severity of the disease increase with age. Smokers tend to experience worse levels of periodontitis, and diabetics are particularly susceptible to the disease.

Carter continued: “All gum disease is caused by plaque which forms on the surface of the teeth every day. The good news is that this can be managed with a simple daily routine. You need to make sure you remove all the plaque from your teeth every day. This is done by brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and cleaning in between the teeth with ‘interdental’ brushes or floss.”

The Stroke Association estimated that over 100,000 strokes occur in the UK every year. There is an elevated risk of strokes and heart disease around the Christmas period.

The study, titled “Periodontitis as a risk factor for stroke: A systematic review and meta-analysis”, was published online on 6 November 2019 in Vascular Health and Risk Management.

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