Gum disease doubles stroke risk, according to a recent study

Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, is one of the most prevalent health concerns across the UK. Recent research conducted in the UK has discovered that those suffering with gum disease are twice as likely to have a stroke.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease causes bleeding, red or swollen gums, bad breath, loose teeth, and visible areas where the gum appears separated from the teeth. As a result, periodontal disease causes tooth loss and increases the risk of various illnesses including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and stroke.

How is gum disease related to stroke?

According to the recent research, individuals with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from some form of stroke. The study has discovered when the gums bleed and become inflamed, it causes a change in how blood and oxygen flow to the brain, increasing the risk of ischemic stroke.

The Stroke Association approximate that over 100,000 strokes occur in the UK every year. The Christmas period in particular brings with it a heightened risk of stroke and heart disease, making the link between gum disease and stroke all the more relevant in the build up to the festivities.

The study claims those with gum disease are twice as likely to suffer a non-fatal stroke in comparison to type 2 diabetes. In fact, the link between periodontal disease and stroke is stronger than that of the link between periodontitis and coronary heart disease.

How to prevent gum disease

As one of the most common health conditions in the UK, gum disease currently affects around 45% of the adult population. Diabetics and smokers are particularly prone to the disease, with smokers most likely to experience worse levels of gum disease than non-smokers. The likelihood of having gum disease increases with age, as does the severity.

Not only is gum disease linked to coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, specific forms of dementia and stroke, but it is also the leading cause of tooth loss. The good news is that it is easy to reduce your risk of gum disease by ensuring an effective daily dental routine is in place; removing the plaque from teeth by brushing the teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and cleaning in between teeth with an interdental brush or floss.

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