How good oral hygiene helps to avoid a stroke

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How good oral hygiene helps to avoid a stroke

(NaturalHealth365) Did you realize that epidemiological data indicates a third of Americans never floss?  This oral hygiene oversight could be a lot more problematic than you think – especially if you’re concerned about your cardiovascular system.

Here’s how: It’s been well-established that proper oral hygiene can reduce your risk for gum disease (gingivitis).  It’s also heart healthy, because bacteria in your mouth can leech into your bloodstream via damaged teeth and gums and infect your heart and blood vessels.

Now, new research from the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Heart Association sheds a harsh light on exactly this mechanism and the severity of its impact.

Brain blood clots in stroke victims infected with oral bacteria, revealing new study shows

You may have heard of the “mind-body” connection before. But have you ever heard of the “mind-mouth” connection?  Never could this be more true than for people who suffer a stroke, or “brain attack.”

Researchers from Tampere University in Finland analyzed the blood clots (thrombi, or the singular thrombus) from acute 75 stroke victims. Nearly 8 out of 10 of these individuals had DNA in their samples that was consistent with oral bacteria, including the common Streptococcus mitis.

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Amazingly, there was more oral bacteria in the blood clot samples compared to blood taken elsewhere from these patients! Whether this indicates that oral bacteria cause stroke or are simply correlated with it, the overall consensus is clear:

Oral bacteria “contribute to the progression and thrombotic events of cerebrovascular diseases.”

In other words: not taking care of your oral health through spot-on oral hygiene is giving harmful bacteria a free pass into the rest of your body … where they can cause serious trouble!

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Want better teeth? Review these go-to oral hygiene tips

Previously on this site, we’ve talked about some surprising dangers of poor oral hygiene and the link between gum disease and other chronic conditions like heart disease and cognitive impairment. We’ve also reviewed some simple dentist-recommended tips for better oral health.

And because it really is THAT important, we thought we’d review it again. Go over this checklist with your family and start owning your oral hygiene routine!

  • Brush longer. That 30 second whiz around your mouth isn’t giving your toothbrush enough time to gently remove the bacteria and plaque. Aim for 2 minutes – try a simple timer on your phone.  And, be sure to brush the front and back of each tooth – always away from the gum line.
  • Brush more gently! Scouring your teeth can wear down your enamel, increasing your risk for tooth damage and staining.
  • Brush at least twice per day, or after each meal if you can.
  • Floss (each day) – to scrap away debris from the side of each tooth.

Lastly, minimize or avoid your consumption of sugary foods, sugary drinks, and refined carbohydrates. Bacteria thrive on sugar, and this could attract more of them into your mouth.

Sources for this article include:

MedicalNewsToday.com
NaturalHealth365.com
Healthline.com
USNews.com