Good oral hygiene is a preventative measure that can keep several health problems at bay. A new study reveals the presence of mouth bacteria in samples of brain clots that had caused strokes. It is crucial to keep up with good dental hygiene as it is recommended by dentists and it may help to prevent a stroke. Read more to learn about the connection between mouth bacteria in brain clots of stroke patients.
What Is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when the brain abruptly experiences a disruption to its blood supply. This deprives cells of basic oxygen and nutrients and can lead to tissue damage and loss of function in the brain. An ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke, occurs when a blood clot decreases the blood supply in an artery that nourishes the brain.
The Study Findings
This new study - "Oral Bacterial Signatures in Cerebral Thrombi of Patients with Acute Ischemic Stroke Treated with Thrombectomy," was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. The research was carried out at Tampere University Hospital in Finland between 2013 and 2017 by the Finnish researchers who have been conducting studies for 10 years on the connection between bacteria and heart disease. Scientists observed signs of bacteria in blood clots taken from some patients who were being treated at the hospital for an ischemic stroke.
The study involved the analysis of blood clot samples from 75 people who underwent emergency treatment for ischemic stroke. After analyzing blood clots sampled by this method, the researchers found that 79% of them bore DNA from common oral bacteria. Most of the bacteria belonged to the Streptococcus mitis species, which belongs to a group called Viridans streptococci. The levels of the mouth bacteria were much higher in the blood clot samples compared to other samples that were taken from the same patients.
How Mouth Bacteria Is Linked to Brain Clots
Out of an estimated 500 and 700 kinds of bacteria living in the human mouth, Streptococcus species are commonly found in the oral cavities of both healthy people and people who have periodontitis. The variant of the Streptococcus species, Viridans streptococci, can enter the bloodstream easily after tooth extraction.
Related Article: How Are Oral Health and Alzheimer's Disease Linked?
The Finnish researchers found that the bacteria had become confined in atherosclerotic plaques in the relatively brief period of their stay in the patients' bloodstream. Due to the bacteria's entrapment, the plaques became weak and eventually ruptured. The ruptured plaques lead to blood clot formations that moved through the bloodstream. Following a constriction of blood flow to the brain, the patients suffered a stroke.
Through regular dental care, you may be able to prevent the risk of an ischemic stroke. Contact our Des Moines dentist to improve your oral health.