Dental Decay and Risk of Stroke

May is American Stroke Month in the United States. It is noteworthy to mention that May is also High Blood Pressure Awareness Month. These significant health conditions often go together. Dr. Jeffrey Saver, quoted on the American Heart Association website says, “Learning how to spot a stroke is just as important as teaching your family CPR or what to do in the event of a fire. With stroke — just like a cardiac arrest or a fire — seconds count.” The American Stroke Association therefore created an acronym (FAST) to improve public awareness of the signs of stroke:

“FAST is:

  • F – Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • A – Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S – Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • T – Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.”

Stroke Risk Related to Dental Decay

The Placerville Dental Group encourages all patients to prevent dental decay and thereby protect themselves from an increased risk of stroke. Research has shown a link between certain types of stroke and destructive oral bacteria. This is because the culprit behind tooth decay, a bacteria called Streptococcus mutans, may attach itself to blood vessels in the brain weakened by high blood pressure and/or age. In response to this discovery, one researcher said: “This study shows that oral health is important for brain health. People need to take care of their teeth because it is good for their brain and their heart as well as their teeth. The study and related work in our labs have shown that oral bacteria are involved in several kinds of stroke, including brain hemorrhages and strokes that lead to dementia.”

Prevent Oral Decay and Strokes

In addition to brushing and flossing at least twice a day for two minutes each time, keep your dental cleaning and exam appointments with the Placerville Dental Group. A good dental routine combined with knowledge reduces dental decay and the risk of serious health conditions such as stroke. Our Placer County dentists are here to help! Contact us online or at (530) 444-5322 for assistance with preventing tooth decay and gum disease.


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