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Is There a Link Between Oral Bacteria and Stroke?

Researchers from the University of Louisville School of Medicine evaluated patients admitted to area hospitals after having stroke symptoms. The group of physicians found that certain types of strokes are more likely to occur when individuals have colonies of Streptococcus mutans in their oral cavities. The results of the study were published in an issue of Scientific Reports. A similar study was conducted by physicians from the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center in Osaka, Japan, and confirmed the results of the previous study. The findings of these studies are particularly useful for post-stroke caregivers in Temple.

Strokes are categorized as either being ischemic or hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes occur when a blockage develops in one or more intracranial blood vessels, which deprives the delicate cells of oxygen. Hemorrhagic strokes involve tearing or rupturing of one or more blood vessels.

When body fluid tests were conducted on people who experienced strokes, 26 percent of those with hemorrhagic strokes tested positive for the S. mutans bacteria in their saliva. The bacteria were only present six percent of the time in those admitted because of other types of strokes. The scientists also assessed the MRI images of patients for the possibility of microbleeds or slight bleeding in the brain. The number of microbleeds was seen most often in patients that tested positive for the S. mutans bacteria.

Both groups of researchers theorize that elderly people commonly have weakened blood vessels due to age, high blood pressure, and plaque formation. The presence of the bacteria further adds to the problem by adhering to vessel walls, which then cannot sustain the added stress. The vessel walls tear or rupture and bleeding occurs.

The results of these research studies heighten the need for proper oral care. Dental practitioners were previously aware of the connection between oral bacteria and the potential for heart disease. Health care providers estimate that at least 10 percent of the population harbor S. mutans bacteria in their mouths. This is also the variety of bacteria that most often cause tooth decay and gum disease. For this reason, it is important for Temple home care providers to help seniors practice thorough oral hygiene every day.

After seniors have a stroke, recovery can be a long and challenging road to venture alone. Fortunately, Home Care Assistance provides flexible live-in and hourly home care in Temple to help seniors recover quickly and efficiently from stroke. Whether your loved one needs help with grooming, bathing, dressing, or oral hygiene, our highly trained caregivers will give your loved one the care and attention he or she needs effectively recuperate in the comfort of home. Call us today at 254-856-0600 to learn more about our senior stroke care and schedule a free in-home consultation.