While we constantly remind our children of the importance of brushing their teeth and looking after their gums, many of us are guilty of rushing our own oral health routine as we frantically tend to our childrens'.

Recent research may, however, give you pause for thought the next time you choose to skip the flossing in exchange for two more minutes in bed or a less-stressful commute.

According to a recent study, there appears to exists a link between the presence of a certain oral bacteria and the likelihood of suffering a stroke.

Researchers from the University of Louisville School of Medicine analysed saliva samples provided by patients who were admitted to hospital following a haemmorrhagic stroke and discovered that over a quarter were found to have a type of oral bacteria known as streptococcus mutans.

The bacteria, which is known to cause tooth decay, is generally found in 10% of the general population, and researchers believe it is capable of attaching itself to blood vessels which have been weakened by age and blood pressure thereby causing arterial ruptures in the brain.

Commenting on the findings of the study, co-author Professor Robert P. Friedland asserted: "The study and related work in our labs have shown that oral bacteria are involved in several kinds of stroke, including brain hemorrhages and strokes that lead to dementia."

"This study shows that oral health is important for brain health. People need to take care of their teeth because it is good for their brain and their heart as well as their teeth," he insisted before highlighting the possible link between oral bacteria and disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

The study has been published in Scientific Reports.

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