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Stroke and Oral Health – Is There any Connection?

Stroke is one of the major causes of disability among adults these days. Blood flow is interrupted in the brain and cells don’t get enough oxygen when a stroke occurs. The part of the brain where cells die no longer works. Some of the common signs of stroke are a problem in swallowing, weak hands and paralysis on the face on one side. Due to these physical issues, it is not easier for the patient to take care of oral hygiene. Some people can’t even floss, rinse and brush. 

Potential Complications of Stroke on Oral Health 

People might be more vulnerable to oral problems while recovering from a stroke. Food can easily get stuck in between teeth without even feeling it if you have a facial paralysis. Dentures that are not fitted well can also cause irritation on gums. In order to prevent the next stroke, some medications are given. Some of the possible side effects include reducing saliva which helps to clean your mouth. 

When excess bacteria builds up in teeth and excess food particles get stuck, plaque can lead to gum disease. If gum disease is not cured, it can cause a severe infection, periodontitis, which can cause permanent damage to jawbones and teeth. 

Gum Disease and Stroke 

According to a recent study, periodontal disease is another major culprit behind causing a stroke. Sadly, gum disease affects more than 75% of adults and professional treatment is given to only 3%. In order to prevent stroke, one good thing you can do is to maintain proper oral health. Be sure to schedule dental tests regularly and professional dental cleaning to cure any problem on time. 

How to maintain oral health after stroke?

  • Keep your toothpaste at the same place so you can easily find it. 
  • If you cannot hold the toothbrush, use a wide plastic grip above the handle. 
  • The electric toothbrush is also recommended for easy cleaning 
  • Try mouthwash or any saliva substitute to cure the issue of dry mouth. You can also chew sugar-free gum or sip water to keep your mouth wet. 

What caregivers can do?

  • Help the patient to choose the time and place for oral care to improve cooperation 
  • Motivate them to take care of their oral hygiene on their own. 
  • Use a little bit of toothpaste if the patient has a problem swallowing. 
  • Remove food particles and bacteria with a tongue cleaner
  • Use a swab or towel if the person having a problem with brushing the tooth. 

Our Verdict 

When it comes to oral care with stroke, there is no specific protocol available which is based on evidence. The suggestions available are specifically based on initial references from medical literature. Improved awareness of prosthetic care and oral problems are required for patients from medical staff. It is also very vital to ask other healthcare experts regarding oral care for stroke patients.