Flossing Your Teeth and Strokes

You probably heard common stroke-prevention strategies like regular exercise, more greens in your diet, minimizing your stress and keep inflammation at bay. But you probably haven’t heard of this one, taking good care of your teeth and gums can lower the risk of stroke.

A new study found a significant link between stroke and oral bacteria. 75 ischemic stroke patients were tested and almost 80 percent of them had oral bacteria DNA concentrated in the blood clots that weren’t found in the other blood samples from the same patient.

The presence of oral bacteria in blood clots shows that gum disease and oral bacteria affects cardiovascular and neurological health.

The same study found that blood clots containing oral bacteria cause heart attacks and brain aneurysms. Thrombosis in the leg veins and arteries contain oral bacteria, and that oral bacteria is linked to a heart infection.

Other research has linked oral bacteria from gum disease with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. The bacteria produce toxin in the brain that can increase the risk of misfolded proteins or aggregates in the brain which leads to Alzheimer’s.

An ischemic stroke happens when there’s a blood clot in a part of the brain which hinders blood flow and vital oxygen. This causes massive tissue damage. It is typically caused by the narrowing and hardening of the arteries from plaquing or atherosclerosis.

There are records that oral bacteria activates platelets and increases the risk of atherosclerosis and blood clotting.

Still not convinced to diligently floss?

We know that flossing can be tedious. It’s tempting to just brush your teeth and go on with your day.

Here’s a little tip to keep you motivated to floss and brush regularly! After you floss, smell your floss. If it has a foul odor, it’s a sign that you have oral bacteria accumulating on your teeth and gums. Check the smell of your floss when you’re done flossing each section of teeth. You might find areas that need extra attention.

Familiarize yourself with healthy flossing and brushings practices and consider getting a water flossing device. These devices use water for extra teeth cleaning power and stimulate gum tissue. It’s important to note that a water floss should be a supplement to flossing and not a substitute. It is not as effective as flossing with dental floss.

Use functional medicine to prevent strokes

A healthy diet and lifestyle help keep our teeth and gums healthy. 90 percent of strokes are caused by poor dietary and lifestyle practices.

Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of disability.

Studies have found the following factors are the most common causes of strokes:
• High blood pressure
• Smoking
• Poor diet
• Lack of exercise
• Excess alcohol
• Stress and depression
• Diabetes
• Excess abdominal fat
• Heart disorders

As research continues, poor oral hygiene may get added to this list.

Functional medicine strategies to prevent stroke
Focus whole foods, plenty of vegetables, and healthy fats in your diet. Avoid sodas, desserts, sweet coffee drinks, and processed foods. It might be hard adjusting at first but the sacrifices will be worth it when you’ll start feeling heaps better.

Stabilize blood sugar
High blood sugar caused by high sweets and processed carbohydrates intake causes chronic inflammation. This damages and thickens arterial walls and encourages the formation of arterial plaques and blood clots. Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes, increase your risk of stroke by two to four times.

Regular exercise not makes you feel awesome but also presents strokes
Exercise is the most effective way to prevent stroke and promote a healthy brain. Regular physical activity keeps blood vessels strong, improves brain oxygenation, and increases your metabolism. Proper exercise after a stroke can also significantly reduces the severity of repercussions and speeds up recovery.

Ask my office how we can help you lower your risk of stroke and support your brain health.

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