Oral & Vision Health Blog

Oral Health and Strokes: Do You Know the Signs?

We’ve reported before about the oral health-overall health connection. Taking care of your teeth is important because poor oral hygiene can lead to many health issues. This includes heart disease, complications from diabetes, pre-term birth…and stroke. And, while you may know about this connection, do you know the signs of stroke?

A stroke occurs when there is bleeding into your brain or when blood flow to the brain is blocked.  Very quickly after being deprived of oxygen and other essential nutrients, brain cells start to die. The process must be stopped to preserve brain function.

Stroke is a true emergency. The sooner you receive treatment, the more likely the damage can be minimized.

Knowing the signs can save lives—yours and others.


With stroke, time really is of the essence. That’s why it’s so important to know the signs and be able to act FAST. According to the American Stroke Association, FAST is a quick way to remember the signs:

F = Face. Look at the person’s face. Ask him or her to smile. Is one side drooping or the smile uneven?

A = Arms. Ask the person to lift both arms. Is there numbness or weakness? Does one arm drift downward?

S = Speech. Do you notice slurred speech? Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase, such as, “The sky is blue.” Are you able to understand the person? Can he/she repeat it at all?

T = Time. If you see any of these signs, it’s time to call 911. Immediately. Don’t hesitate, even if the symptoms seem to go away. It’s also helpful to hospital staff if you’re able to tell them about what time the symptoms first appeared.

Other symptoms—all of which come on SUDDENLY—include:

  • Numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg—especially on one side of the body
  • Confusion
  • Trouble speaking or understanding
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Difficulty walking
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Severe headache with no known cause

An easy way to help lower your risk for stroke is to practice good oral hygiene. Research links the bacteria resulting from gum disease to health risks such as stroke. Be sure to brush twice a day, floss daily and get your regular check-ups at the dentist!

Download our FAST sheet by clicking below! Keep it as a reminder!

Download our  Signs of Stroke Guide