Oral Health and Brain Health

Taking care of teeth and gums may offer benefits beyond oral health such as improving brain health, according to preliminary research to be presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2023.

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A new study presented at the conference analyzed the potential link between oral health and brain health among 40,000 adults without a history of stroke enrolled in the U.K. Biobank. Between 2014 and 2021, participants were screened for 105 genetic variants known to predispose people to have cavities, dentures, and missing teeth later in life.

★ Findings

Signs of poor brain health, such as damage to the structure and white matter* of the brain, were then screened via MRI images.

*White matter is the large network of nerve fibers in your brain that allows the exchange of information and communication between different areas of your brain. It’s called “white matter” because the nerve fibers are covered in a protective sheath called myelin, which gives the tissue its white colour.

Researchers found, in their preliminary findings, that people who were genetically prone to cavities, missing teeth, or needing dentures had a higher amount of damage from a silent stroke, meaning a stroke that doesn’t cause any noticeable symptoms, characterized by a 24% increase in the amount of white matter damage visible on the MRI images.

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Those with overall genetically poor oral health also had increased damage to the structure of the brain, characterized by a 43% change in structural damage visible on the MRI scans.

The study author Cyprien Rivier, M.D., M.S., a postdoctoral fellow in neurology at the Yale School of Medicine says the following in a press release from the American Heart Association:

“Studying oral health is especially important because poor oral health happens frequently and is an easily modifiable risk factor—everyone can effectively improve their oral health with minimal time and financial investment. Poor oral health may cause declines in brain health, so we need to be extra careful with our oral hygiene because it has implications far beyond the mouth.”

★ Signs of poor oral health

Poor oral health is typically defined with illness such as tooth decay, gum disease, or oral cancer. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including improper brushing and flossing, poor diet, and inadequate access to dental care.

Poor oral health can present itself in different ways: Poor oral health can be tooth decay/cavities, periodontal/gum disease, and oral cancer. Some signs can be breaking or broken down teeth, pain, bleeding gums, swollen gums, loose teeth, bad breath, and visible growths on the teeth or in the mouth. White tongue, or a white filmy appearance on your tongue, is also an indicator of poor oral health.

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★ How to take better care of your oral health

If you’re wondering how you can avoid all the scary consequences that poor oral health might mean for your body and brain, here are some ways you can take better care of your oral health, according to our experts:

It’s a must:

  • Brush twice a day for two minutes each time, and don’t forget to clean your tongue!
  • Floss every day to remove plaque and bacteria from between teeth.
  • Eat a healthy diet, with plenty of solid foods.
  • Limit sugary drinks, including soda, concentrated juice, and carbonated water, or use a straw to limit contact with your teeth.

Strongly suggested:

  • Use mouthwash to reduce plaque and bacteria.
  • Avoid tobacco products, including smoking cigarettes and vaping.
  • Limit alcohol use.
  • Wear a mouthguard if you play contact sports.
  • Consider using an electric toothbrush or water flosser.
  • Visit the dentist regularly for a dental check-up, cleaning, and screenings for oral cancers & periodontal/gum disease.


Keeping Our Patients Safe:

Under the guidance of the BC Provincial Health, the College of Dental Surgeons of BC and the BC Dental Association, we have implemented strict new clinic standards and safety measures in order to help protect our patients and staff, which include:

  • Pre-screening all patients for COVID-19 prior to accepting in-person appointments.
  • Providing hand sanitizing stations and following strict hand hygiene protocols.
  • Increasing the frequency of sanitization of high-touch areas and surfaces.
  • Limiting the number of people in the clinic at one time and practicing physical distancing protocols.

The health & safety of our patients has always been our top priority. We encourage everyone to stay safe and to follow the directions of Health Canada and your local health authorities.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us! Great thanks for your understanding and support!

Contact Family Care Dental Clinic for your consultation today!

Located in the heart of North Vancouver, BC, Family Care Dental Clinic is a group of passionate dentists and dental experts who are committed to providing patients with exceptional dental care in a modern and relaxing environment. We at Family Care Dental Clinic offer our clients a wide range of comprehensive dental services for the whole family.

Call (604) 987-3545 or write us at info@familycaredentalclinic.com to schedule an appointment with a member of our excellent team!


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