Many recent studies have linked the oral pathogens responsible for periodontal disease with enhanced risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Some studies have shown that individuals with significant periodontal bone loss and missing teeth, as established by full mouth X-ray surveys, were 2.8 times more prone to suffering a stroke than individuals with minimal or no demonstrable bone loss.
It is apparent that dental professionals need to consider periodontal disease as a modifiable risk factor for stroke in their aging patients. As dentists, we can provide excellent counsel and preventive treatment for these individuals by identifying and providing appropriate periodontal care. Veteran's Administration Hospital patients studied by Loesche and associates demonstrated that those individuals who received a minimum of one periodontal teeth cleaning per year were five times less likely to suffer a stroke than their peers who received cleanings less frequently or not at all.
The dental professional can also be diligent in monitoring patient blood pressures, another risk factor in stroke as the body compensates for impaired cerebral blood flow by increasing arterial pressure. We should also be cognizant of patient tobacco use and counsel them regarding cessation of smoking.
Patient education, appropriate periodontal treatment and modifiable risk counseling are all essential ways in which the dental professional can participate in the prevention of stroke and become more involved in the overall health of their patients.
Remember, only a dentist can diagnose your dental problems and offer the right treatment plan for you. If you need a dentist, call us at 1-866-970-0441 to be connected with one today.