Ensuring good oral hygiene could help to prevent stroke.Scientists have proposed this after finding DNA traces of oral bacteria in samples of blood clots that caused strokes.
Researchers from Tampere University in Finland analysed clot samples from 75 people who had suffered an ischaemic stroke. The researchers found that 79% of the samples bore DNA from common oral bacteria. Most of the bacteria belong to a group that scientists call viridans streptococci.
The levels of the oral bacteria were much higher in the blood clot samples than they were in other samples that surgeons took from the same patients. The team reported the findings in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
The study forms part of a larger investigation that Tampere University is conducting into the role of bacteria in cardiovascular diseases. This investigation has already found that blood clots that have caused heart attacks, brain aneurysms and thromboses in leg veins and arteries, contain oral bacteria, particularly viridans streptococci. The researchers believe that the new study is the first to implicate viridans streptococci in acute ischaemic stroke.
In discussing the implications of the results, the authors note that streptococci bacteria from the mouth can cause serious infection, such as of the heart valves.
The researchers note that while the results show that oral bacteria are involved, it is still unclear whether they cause strokes or play bystander role.
In the meantime, they suggest: “Regular dental care should be emphasised in the primary prevention of
[acute ischaemic stroke]