Stroke & Dental Plaque – A manageable risk

By: Alere Staff

Going to the dentist at regular periods may help you prevent a stroke. A recent study published online found that people with periodontal disease had a higher risk of stroke than those who visit their dentists regularly.1 Periodontal disease is any bacterial infection that affects the gums, teeth or bones.

A study of over 500,000 patients with periodontal disease had a 1.15% risk of stroke vs. only 0.14% for those who visited their dentists’ regularly.1 Researchers studied two groups of people, those with gum disease and those without. The study showed that the rate of stroke for those with gum disease was considerably increased.

Brushing alone is not enough. Undiagnosed infections of your gums and something dentists call ‘pockets’ below your gum line are a common cause of tooth and bone loss. Only a dentist can manage bacteria below the gum line. There are antibiotic powders dentists can place in pockets below the gum line to kill bacteria and help prevent it from returning. This allows the bone to return to good health and protect your teeth and in doing so reduce your risk of stroke.

When you visit your dentist, remind them you are taking warfarin so they can take care when they look around.

  1. Ya-Ling Lee, Hsiao-Yun Hu, Nicole Huang, De-Kuang Hwang, Pesus Chou, and Dachen Chu. Dental Prophylaxis and Periodontal Treatment Are Protective Factors to Ischemic Stroke. Stroke. 2013. Published online before print February 19 2013.