Continued research highly supports that periodontitis (gum disease) — a constant, low-grade inflammation and infection of the gums — increases the risk of ischemic stroke (the most common type) as well as dementia due, in part to the chronic inflammation in the gums. 


For strokes, it is believed that the inflammation associated with periodontitis contributes to the development and progression of atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by the buildup of fatty plaques in the arteries. Atherosclerosis can lead to the formation of blood clots, which can then trigger an ischemic stroke if the clots travel to the brain and block a blood vessel.


For dementia, periodontal inflammation may lead to the accumulation of harmful proteins in the brain, disrupting neuronal communication and contributing to cognitive decline.


Having periodontitis does not guarantee that someone will have a stroke or get dementia as there are many other contributing factors for both diseases. 


Gum disease prevention is one factor to help reduce the risk of an ischemic stroke and potential dementia. Regular dental visits and good oral hygiene practices are vital. Suggestions include:


Maintain good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste, and floss daily to remove plaque and bacteria from between your teeth and the gum line.


Visit your dentist regularly: Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings are essential for preventing and detecting gum disease. Dr. Frazar and Dr. Coury at our office can identify any signs of periodontitis early and provide appropriate treatment.


Seek treatment for gum disease: If you have symptoms of gum disease, such as bleeding gums, bad breath, gum recession, or tooth mobility, consult your dentist promptly. Early treatment can help prevent the progression of the disease and reduce the associated risks.


Manage other risk factors: Adopt a healthy lifestyle by maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, managing stress levels, avoiding smoking, staying mentally and socially active, and controlling conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. These measures also aid in lowering your overall risk of stroke and dementia.


Maintain open communication with your healthcare providers: Inform The Houston Dentists and your physician about your oral health and any existing medical conditions. We can work together to develop an integrated approach to manage your overall health.


Remember, prevention is vital. By taking proactive steps to maintain good oral health and managing other risk factors, you can reduce the chances of developing periodontitis and the potential risk of suffering from an ischemic stroke or dementia.


Contact us today for any of your oral health needs.