Ok well we all want to have lovely white teeth, and so need to keep up our dental hygiene. But now there may be another reason to floss your teeth.
Tooth loss increases the risk of a stroke many years later, according to a new Japanese study, and underlying gum disease may be to blame. Researchers have calculated that those with fewer than 24 of their own teeth (adults should have 32) are almost 60% more likely to suffer a stroke.
Stroke is caused by a disturbance of blood supply to the brain. The most common type is an ischemic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel that normally delivers oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked. An haemorrhagic stroke is when a blood vessel bursts, causing bleeding into the brain.
In any stroke the nerve cells in the affected area of the brain may die within minutes of being denied oxygen, leading to impairment of bodily functions.
Other studies have also suggested a link between dental disease and heart disease. Gum disease is one of the main causes of tooth loss after the age of 40.
The mouth is brimming with bacteria, which contributes to the sticky, colourless plaque that binds to teeth. Brushing and flossing helps get rid of plaque.
It has been suggested that oral bacteria can contribute to the furring up and narrowing of artery walls which can result in a stroke. bacteria damage cells in the lining of the arteries. Oral bacteria could also attach to fatty deposits in the arteries, which can lead to a blood clot and could result in a stroke.
Some interesting information here, then. If you, or a family member or friend, has had a stroke, you can find out more about travelling with stroke here.