Stroke: Oral Complications and Care

Published on May 19, 2012 by

Dysphagia (difficuly swallowing) 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 factors for CVD, obesity, diabetes, and dyslipidemia.  Also 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. This malnutrition can 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.  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 a help these individuals maintain optimal oral hygiene. The use of oral health care products have been shown to be very beneficial in reducing dental plaque and their related oral diseases. Nutritional supplements can also help these patients get important vitamins and minerals which may be lacking in their diets due to cahnges in their dietary habits.

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