The development of cavities could dramatically increase an individual’s risk of a life-threatening stroke from brain bleeding, according to recent research. This study further illustrates a point that Eugene dentist Dr. Rita Feldmanis always tries to make to patients – the state of your oral health heavily influences your overall health.
While earlier research has found a link between gum disease and stroke, little data exists that examined what role cavities may play in determining a patient’s long-term brain health. In this recent study, researchers specifically examined the relationship between cavities and intracerebral stroke, which occurs when an artery in the brain bursts, flooding the surrounding tissue.
Cavities Could Indicate an Increased Stroke Risk
In the study, researchers at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine examined data collected from over 6,500 study participants who had no history of stroke and followed them for a 30-year period. For the first 15 years, the participants who developed cavities had their risk of stroke from a brain bleed increase slightly. However, their risk increased dramatically over the course of the next 15 years.
During the second half of the study, participants who developed cavities had their risk of stroke from a brain bleed increase 4.5 times higher when compared to participants without cavities. The results of the study remained true even after the researchers adjusted known risk factors that included gender, race, age, and high blood pressure.
Researchers claim this study marks one of the first times cavities and intracerebral stroke had been studied in people. While bleeds in the brain account for only 10 to 20 percent of all strokes, they’re far more deadly when compared to the more common ischemic strokes, which occur due to a blood flow blockage in the brain.
While doctors have a variety of tools at their disposal to help patients lower their risk for ischemic stroke, options for limiting bleeding in the brain are far more limited.
“This study throws more light on how we can address and prevent this more devastating form of stroke,” wrote members of the research team.
The results of this latest study were presented virtually at the 2021 International Stroke Conference.
Gum Disease May Also Contribute to Poor Brain Health
In addition to their findings on cavities and stroke risk, researchers from University of South Carolina School of Medicine also presented their findings on a second study that found gum disease to be linked with damage to tiny blood vessels in the brain.
The research team reported that gum disease can be caused by 20 to 30 different types of bacteria, but cavities are predominantly caused by just one – Streptococcus mutans, which separate research has shown to be linked with bleeding in the brain.
When combined with their research on cavities, it becomes clear that this particular type of oral bacteria represents a significant health risk for patients. While all types of harmful oral bacteria should be taken seriously by patients, this research makes the convincing argument that both cavities and gum disease can rank as potential risk factors for stroke.
Dr. Rita Feldmanis Can Help to Protect Your Health
Protecting your health and lowering your risk for stroke requires making dental care a top priority. By scheduling regular exams and cleanings with Dr. Rits Feldmanis and her team, patients can significantly lower their risk for gum disease and tooth decay.
Don’t take any risks with your oral health moving into the new year. Contact our team today to schedule your next appointment with Dr. Rita Feldmanis today!