Potential Oral Consequences of Stroke

Published on July 24, 2012 by


Dysphagia is most commonly associated with stroke. However numerous other factors may also cause this problem, including poor oral health. Sequentially, dysphagia can result in decreased fiber and caloric intake. These changes in dietary preference could predispose such individuals to the type of high-fat foods that are acknowledged risk factorsfor CVD, obesity, diabetes, and dyslipidemia. In individuals with teeth that are missing many teeth, diet-induced elevation of serum low-density lipoprotein has been shown to upregulate monocytic responses to lipopolysaccharides which can increase the iflammatory response introduced from dental plaque. This may explain the severity of Gram-negative infections in certain diabetic patients,but it could also be operating in individuals who change to a high-fat diet because of missing teeth. Therefore, all of the mechanisms by which poor oral hygiene and periodontal disease may contribute to CVD described above could also come into play as a result of certain dietary changes secondary to missing teeth Consequently, periodontitis and tooth loss can affect nutritional status and food selection, which can have very harmful effects on the body’s general health.


Malnutritional can occur as a result of either primary or secondary causes. The primary causes occur due to poor food choices and/or food preparation. The secondary causes occur due to poor chewing ability and difficulty swallowing, and/or digestion, absorption and utilization, and elimination impairments.

Dysphagia, which commonly follows stroke, can result from insufficient food intake, in terms of lowered food volume intake. Malnutrition, secondary to insufficient protein intake can then occur, resulting in decreased consumption of overall calories and dietary micronutrients, and this could delay the course of recuperation. It has been reported that individuals with dysphagia improve after one month of adequate dietary intake and speech therapy. Dietary recommendations for individuals suffering from dysphagia range from pureed food to regular food, depending on the individual. Nutritional supplements should be used to provide adequate nutrition when regular food cannot be tolerated by these individuls.


Individuals that have experienced a stroke, especially if this occurred on their predominant side, may not be able to adequately maintain their oral hygiene.They will have difficulty holding a toothbrush, floss and other oral hygiene aids. It is very important for the care-giver to help these individuals maintain optimal oral hygiene. The use of the best oral health care products have been shown to be very beneficial in reducing dental plaque and their related oral diseases.

Filed under: Nutrition, Prevention

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