Gum disease identified as major risk factor for strokes

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A new study has suggested that gum disease is a more potent risk factor for strokes than diabetes.

The findings of the study, which were presented at the 89th International Association for Dental Research exhibition in San Diego, show that gum disease carries almost as much risk as high blood pressure. High blood pressure and diabetes have long been associated with ischemic strokes; however, in recent years, research studies have identified gum disease as a major risk factor.

The study claims that people are twice as likely to have an ischemic stroke if they have gum disease than if they have diabetes; the study also indicates that people with gum disease have a similar risk of having a stroke as those with hypertension.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said that many people are aware of the potential dangers of obesity, high blood pressure, alcohol abuse and smoking but most people were unaware of the potential dangers linked to poor oral health. Dr Carter said that the study was significant and hoped that people would take note of the findings and take better care of their teeth and gums.

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