How Can Good Oral Health Lower the Risk of Strokes?

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Can Good Oral Health Lower the Risk of Strokes in Des Moines, IA

Researchers have discovered an interesting connection between certain types of oral bacteria and an increased risk of strokes. This research has some significant implications for seniors who may already be at increased risk due to their age and various medical conditions. This information is also pertinent for family caregivers who provide care for their aging loved ones. Read on to learn more about oral hygiene’s role in stroke risk. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. Des Moines, IA, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

The Link Between Oral Bacteria & Stroke

A study conducted at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center in Japan found a particular kind of oral bacteria (Streptococcus mutans) was present in 26 percent of people who were admitted for hemorrhagic strokes. This is a type of stroke that causes arteries in the brain to rupture and severe internal bleeding. The stroke survivors who tested positive for the S. mutans bacteria also had a higher rate of cerebral microbleeds, which are tiny brain hemorrhages that can cause dementia and greatly increase the risk of hemorrhagic strokes. Researchers suspect the S. mutans bacteria may enter the bloodstream from the mouth and then go on to bind to blood vessels in the brain that are already weakened due to aging or chronically high blood pressure. When the bacteria places additional stress on these blood vessels, it can cause them to rupture, resulting in a stroke.  While this particular type of bacteria was prevalent only in individuals who experienced hemorrhagic strokes, another study has found a correlation between ischemic strokes, which are caused by a blockage in the arteries, and chronic periodontal disease. Gingivitis and periodontitis occur when bacteria gets below the gumline and causes inflammation. These bacteria can spread through the bloodstream and cause inflammation elsewhere in the body. Inflammation is known to cause atherosclerosis, or a hardening of the arteries, which increases the risk of stroke. If your loved one is diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or any other serious condition, compassionate help is available. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Des Moines, IA, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

Implications for Seniors

The connection between oral health and stroke risk has significant implications for seniors. This is because the elderly often experience dental problems due to aging teeth, side effects of medications, or a lifetime of bad oral hygiene habits. It’s important to help your loved one maintain proper dental hygiene by ensuring he or she brushes and flosses regularly in addition to visiting the dentist every six months. Brushing and flossing the teeth remove both bacteria and the food particles bacteria consume, which is why dental hygiene is the best method for getting rid of the bacteria that lead to an increase in stroke and dementia risk. Professional caregivers can be great assets for seniors who need help with everyday tasks such as brushing and flossing their teeth. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more. Call Home Care Assistance at (515) 264-2438 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.

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