Gum disease carries a higher risk of causing a stroke than diabetes

Research suggests that you are more likely to suffer a stroke as a result of gum disease than you are from diabetes. Further, the impact of gum disease is nearly equivalent to that of high blood pressure as a major cause of strokes. 

High blood pressure and diabetes are both widely recognised as major risks that can contribute to non-fatal strokes (ischemic strokes). However, in recent years the evidence of a link between gum disease (periodontitis) and strokes has been growing. This latest research indicates that people are twice as likely to suffer a non-fatal stroke as a result of gum disease when compared to diabetes. 

The research was conducted by Seoul National University, South Korea and the findings of the research were presented last month at the 89th International Association for Dental Research Exhibition in San Diego.  

Dr Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said: "Obesity, alcohol abuse, poor diet and smoking are generally well-known risk factors which can cause strokes. Less well-known are the risks caused by gum disease. This research is significant because it helps to quantify the importance of oral health compared to other risk factors. The fact that high blood pressure carries a similar risk to gum disease is in itself a significant finding. The other finding which shows that gum disease nearly doubles the risk of non-fatal strokes, compared to diabetes, is totally unexpected.” 

“The research sends a clear message that the risks caused by poor oral health should not be overlooked or considered less important when compared to others factors. The good news is that poor oral health is nearly always preventable and it is important that people make caring for their teeth a top priority. Regular visits to the dentist and a simple routine of brushing teeth, twice a day for two minutes, will help to remove plaque - the cause of gum disease.”

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