Dental disease revealed to be factor in stroke

Los Angeles: Dental disease is a risk factor in stroke, according to new research from the the University of California Los Angeles.

Researchers have discovered that the disease is more prevelant in people with blockages of the main blood vessels leading to the brain (carotid artery). These blockages, or atheromas, contain calcium and can be detected on dental panoramic radiographs.

The results came from a study to see if dental disease shown on a panoramic radiograph is greater among people with atheromas seen on their dental radiograph than among people without atheromas but matched for stroke risk factors (body mass, smoking history, need for medications to control hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and diabetes).

The group with carotid atheromas seen on dental panoramic radiographs was found to have more dental disease, as determined by the number of teeth with decay, missing teeth, and the amount of bone loss around teeth, than the group without any radiographically detectable atheromas.

The results of this study, Does Dental Disease Influence Prevalence of Panographically Imaged Carotid Atheromas?, indicate that dental disease may play a role in the formation of carotid atheromas in patients already at risk for stroke. It was conducted by E. Chung, A.F. Friedlander, E.C. Sung, and N.R. Garrett, of the University of California-Los Angeles, USA, presented on July 1, 2006, at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, during the 84th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research.