According to the Centers for Disease Control, 795,000 people have a stroke each year, with 130,000 of those causing death. In fact, stroke is responsible for one in every 20 deaths in the United States. But the good news is that strokes may be preventable, at least that is according to data from a new study by neurologists at Prisma Health.
According to the study, strokes may be caused by poor oral health. In the study, data from 9,666 adults was examined and found that there was a link between gum disease (periodontitis) and atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) which is often a major risk factor for having a stroke.
In the study, it was found that patients who attended twice-annual dental appointments had a 20 percent lower risk of developing a stroke than those who visited the dentist less frequently. This tells researchers that with proper oral health care, stroke risk can be successfully reduced.
Stroke is also common in other conditions such as sleep apnea, which if properly treated can also reduce stroke risk.
If you are concerned about your stroke risk, there are many things you can do to help lower that risk, such as brushing your teeth twice per day with a soft-bristled brush, flossing at least once per day, and attending regular dental exams with Dr. Mingus. If you suffer from sleep apnea, treating this sleep disorder is also an important way to help reduce your risk of illnesses such as stroke, cognitive impairment, depression, diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
While many people are hesitant to treat their sleep apnea due to the fear of using awkward CPAP machines, there is a solution that does not require the use of CPAP. It’s called a mandibular device and it is custom fit to your mouth to prop your airway open while you sleep. This allows you to breathe easier, without the use of electronic equipment, tubing, and uncomfortable masks.
To learn more about how to care for your teeth, to schedule an appointment to discuss sleep apnea treatment, or to schedule your exam and cleaning, please contact Dr. Mingus today.