University of Helsinki Study Uncovers Alarming Link Between Periodontitis and Stroke in Younger Individuals

University of Helsinki Study Uncovers Alarming Link Between Periodontitis and Stroke in Younger Individuals

(IN BRIEF) A recent study led by the University of Helsinki reveals a concerning link between periodontitis and stroke risk in individuals under 50 years old without known predisposing factors. The severity of periodontitis correlates with the severity of stroke, emphasizing the importance of oral health in preventing stroke, particularly in young adults.

(PRESS RELEASE) HELSINKI, 12-Jun-2024 — /EuropaWire/ — In a recent study led by the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases at the University of Helsinki, researchers have uncovered a concerning link between periodontitis, a common inflammatory disease of the mouth, and the risk of stroke in individuals under 50 years of age without known predisposing factors. The study, which focused on young stroke patients between 20 and 50 years old, found that the severity of periodontitis correlated with the severity of stroke, suggesting a potentially serious implication for oral health.

According to Docent and Specialist in Neurology Jukka Putaala from HUS Helsinki University Hospital, the incidence of strokes in this demographic has been increasing in recent years, prompting the need for further investigation into potential contributing factors.

University Researcher Susanna Paju from the University of Helsinki emphasized the significance of their findings, highlighting that while periodontitis has previously been associated with an increased risk of stroke, its impact on young stroke patients without traditional causal factors had not been accurately assessed until now.

The study revealed that periodontitis was significantly more prevalent among stroke patients compared to healthy controls, indicating a possible association between oral inflammation and stroke risk. Additionally, dental procedures conducted within the previous three months, such as tooth extraction or root canal treatment, were found to increase the risk of stroke, particularly in individuals with certain heart conditions.

Professor of Translational Dentistry Pirkko Pussinen from the University of Eastern Finland emphasized the importance of maintaining a healthy oral microbiome, as alterations in the mouth’s microbial community can exacerbate inflammation and contribute to the progression of periodontitis.

The research, published in the Journal of Dental Research, involved 146 case-control pairs and was conducted collaboratively by multiple institutions including the University of Helsinki, the University of Turku, the University of Eastern Finland, HUS Helsinki University Hospital, Turku University Hospital, and King’s College London as part of the international SECRETO study. These findings underscore the need for timely intervention and regular dental care to mitigate the risk of stroke associated with periodontitis.

Original article: Leskelä J, Putaala J, Martinez-Majander N, Tulkki L, Manzoor M, Zaric S, Ylikotila P, Lautamäki R, Saraste A, Suihko S, Könönen E, Sinisalo J, Pussinen PJ, Paju S. Periodontitis, Dental Procedures, and Young-Onset Cryptogenic Stroke. J Dent Res. 2024 May;103(5):494-501. doi: 10.1177/00220345241232406. Epub 2024 Apr 16. PMID: 38623924; PMCID: PMC11047014.

Media Contacts:

Jukka Putaala
Docent, Specialist in Neurology, HUS Helsinki University Hospital

Susanna Paju
Docent, Specialist in Periodontology, University of Helsinki

Pirkko Pussinen
Professor, University of Eastern Finland

SOURCE: University of Helsinki


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