Stroke: The warning sign when you brush your teeth of the life-threatening condition
Heart disease: Doctor explains how to reduce risk
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Experts at Harvard Medical School pointed out that your risk of stroke can be revealed when you brush your teeth – if you know what to look out for. The next time you spit out your toothpaste, have a look in the sink. If you see speckles of blood, or blood-stained blobs of salvia, it is a sign of gum disease. “People with gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) have two to three times the risk of having a stroke,” the experts made clear.
While there may not be a direct connection, there’s growing suspicion that gum disease “may be an independent risk factor for heart disease”.
Periodontist Dr Hatice Hasturk explained: “Periodontal disease increases the body’s burden of inflammation.”
Long-term inflammation is said to be a “key contributor” to atherosclerosis – where the arteries become clogged with fatty plaque substances – a pre-requisite for heart disease, which increases the risk of a stroke.
How to prevent gum disease
Dr Hasturk recommends asking your dentist for a brushing and flossing demonstration next time you go in for a check-up.
This is to make sure you are using the correct techniques to brush and floss effectively.
Daily flossing is vital to sweep away the sticky film between teeth that leads to plaque build-up.
Twice-yearly professional cleaning, performed by a hygienist, is recommended.
Signs of gum disease:
- Swollen, red, or tender gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Pus between the teeth and gums
- Bad breath
- Build-up of hard brown deposits along the gum line
- Loose teeth or teeth that are moving apart.
Can gum disease be reversed?
Professionals at Hawkins Family Dental stated: “Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease and the only stage that is reversible.”
Symptoms include bleeding while brushing and flossing, occasional bad breath and redness and swelling of the gums.
“Catching gum disease at this early stage can help you prevent it getting to any of the later stages,” the professionals added.
Treatment involves a professional dental clean, as well as good brushing and flossing technique implemented twice daily.
If deep pockets develop between the teeth, then this stage is not reversible.
At this stage, all your dentist can do is try to manage and control the infection.
Whether you have bleeding gums or not, heart disease is a sign that you are nearing a stroke risk.
Signs of heart disease, as pointed out by the NHS, include chest pain (i.e. angina) and breathlessness.
In order to minimise your risk of a stroke you must eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoiding smoking and drinking too much alcohol.
Such lifestyle changes can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and atherosclerosis.
Therefore, not only will your risk of stroke go down, but also your chances of developing other diseases.
By reducing your risk of disease, you are on the right path to a longer, healthier life.
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