Men with a history of bone loss due to periodontal disease are at a higher risk of stroke than those with better dental health, according to research published in the Annals of Neurology.
Poor dental health has been linked to a number of potential other health risks, heart disease in particular. This study is the first prospective study to use a specific clinical measure of periodontitis to examine the association of gum disease with the risk of having a stroke.
Researchers examined 1,137 men in the ongoing VA Normative Aging and Dental Longitudinal Study, which began in the 1960s in the Boston area. A trained periodontist gave dental checkups every three years to the men in the study.
Using this data, the study found a significant link between amount of periodontal bone loss and the risk of stroke, particularly in subjects younger than 65 years of age. The exact nature of the link remains unclear and could be either direct or indirect.
Due to growing evidence of a link between dental care and overall health, dentists have been urged to explain to patients their risks of other diseases during dental checkups.
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