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Does Oral Bacteria Increase the Risk for Stroke?

September 14, 2017

Scientists doing laboratory reserachIt might. A recent study out of the University of Louisville indicated that a large percentage of patients admitted to the hospital suffering from a stroke shared one specific strain of oral bacteria – cnm-positive Streptococcus Mutans. From this initial finding, further research continues to support the results of the study. What does that mean for you? If you or a loved one have this particular type of oral bacteria, you may want to talk to you physician about stroke prevention and your dentist about periodontal therapies.

What is Streptococcus Mutans?

There are several different strains of bacteria that naturally live in the human mouth. The Streptococcus Mutans strain is one of these types of oral bacteria. The cnm-positive type are the ones specifically linked to an increased risk of stroke due to how they bind with blood vessels.

What is a Stroke?

Stroke is the term used by lay people to describe incidents of intracerebral hemorrhage. What that means is bleeding in the cranium caused by the rupture of a blood vessel that connects to the brain. A stroke can also occur due to blockage in blood vessels that supply the brain.

The Connection

At the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center in Osaka, Japan, researchers from the University of Louisville began screening the oral bacteria of patients who had experienced a stroke. Of those tested, 26% tested positive for the specific cnm-positive S. Mutans bacteria stain. This lead researchers to conduct further studies. It seems that the patients with cnm-positive S. Mutans were much more likely to experience high blood pressure that causes arterial rupture and cerebral microbleeds that may be early indicators of dementia. Digging deep into the underlying cause for this relationship, researchers determined that the cnm-positive S. Mutans are more likely to bind with blood vessels that have weakened due to aging. This allows the bacteria access to the brain where they can cause cerebral inflammation, microbleeds, blockage and other concerns.

Meet Dr. Brong

Dr. Nicholas Brong and the Zumbro Family Dental team are always working hard to stay up to date with the latest research, so we can help our patients keep their smiles and whole bodies healthy for life. If you have gum disease or recently suffered a stroke, we encourage you to call our Rochester dentistry practice to schedule a consultation. We’ll be happy to review your current at-home oral hygiene routine and partner with you to develop a plan to improve oral health, limit oral bacteria, and keep you smiling.

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