A recent publication by Brain researchers in University of Louisville has found an association between certain types of stroke and the presence of the oral bacteria (gram-positive Streptococcus mutans).
Links between Oral Bacteria and Stroke
In the single hospital study, researchers at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center in Osaka, Japan, observed stroke patients to gain a better understanding of the relationship between haemorrhagic stroke and oral bacteria.
Among the patients who experienced brain haemorrhage, 26 percent were found to have a specific bacterium in their saliva, gram-positive S. mutans. Among patients with other types of stroke, only 6 percent tested positive for the bacterium.
Significance of oral bacteria in Stroke
S. mutans is a bacteria found in the mouth and is a significant contributor to tooth decay.
Bacteria found in gum disease have long been known to be associated with heart disease.
However the discovery of a link between decay causing bacteria and risk of certain types of stroke is yet another reminder that our body works as a system where what goes on in one part of our body is not isolated from the rest of our body.
The authors suggest that the S. mutans bacteria may bind to blood vessels weakened by age and high blood pressure, causing arterial ruptures in the brain, leading to brain haemorrhages.
“This study shows that oral health is important for brain health. People need to take care of their teeth because it is good for their brain and their heart as well as their teeth,” Friedland said.
“The study and related work in our labs have shown that oral bacteria are involved in several kinds of stroke, including brain haemorrhages and strokes that lead to dementia.”
Gum disease and chronic kidney disease
Another recently published research at the University of Birmingham found that “patients with chronic kidney disease patients and periodontitis (severe gum disease) have a higher mortality rate than those with chronic kidney disease alone”.
Professor Iain Chapple, from the University of Birmingham, explained, “It’s important to note that oral health isn’t just about teeth. The mouth is the doorway to the body, rather than a separate organ, and is the access point for bacteria to enter the bloodstream via the gums.”
It may be that the diagnosis of gum disease can provide an opportunity early detection of other problems, whereby dental professionals could adopt a targeted, risk-based approach to screening for other chronic diseases.”