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May is National Stroke Awareness Month: Risk of Stroke Increases with Gum Disease
May 10, 2021

HARRISBURG, Pa. (05/10/2021) – The benefits of regular brushing and flossing go beyond preventing cavities and typical dental problems.  May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and United Concordia Dental, a national dental solutions partner, points to studies that suggest preventing and treating gum disease could reduce risk of stroke.

Inflammation linked to stroke include gingivitis and periodontitis (which are common types of gum disease).

“A significant number of American adults have some form of gum disease, and people should keep their regular dentist appointments because your dentist will recognize gum disease and can test for it,” said Quinn Dufurrena, DDS, chief dental officer for United Concordia.  “We encourage those even without symptoms to be proactive and listen to their dentist about preventive measures, as simple improvements in brushing habits could help to possibly reduce the future risk of stroke.”

Research shows people with gum disease are three times more likely to have a stroke affecting the back of the brain, which controls vision and coordination, and those with measurable gum disease are nearly two and a half times as likely to have severely blocked brain arteries.  While studies do not show gum disease causes artery blockage, there is evidence of a link.  People with inflammation of the gums are twice as likely to have narrow brain arteries from plaque buildup compared to those with no gum disease.

According to the CDC, 46% of adults 30 and older have some form of gum disease, a number that increases to approximately 70% by age 65.  Roughly nine percent of American adults have severe gum disease.  Senior citizens should be particularly aware of their gum health, as their overall risk of stroke increases.  Smokers and people with diabetes are at greater risk of gum disease, also according to the CDC.

Red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums; painful chewing; and loose or sensitive teeth are all warning signs of gum disease.  Keeping up with six-month cleanings and check-ups will best help your dentist evaluate gum health.

To learn more about United Concordia Dental, their large network of dentists and how great oral health promotes great overall health, visit

Paul Braverman
United Concordia Dental

Leilyn Perri
Highmark Health

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