Skip navigation
C. Why Dentists Should be Aware of People at Risk of Stroke

Narrator: This is Science Today. People at risk of having at stroke can find out if they're in danger while sitting in the dentist's chair. Dr. Arthur Friedlander of UCLA's School of Dentistry has conducted a recent study demonstrating that panoramic x-rays used in many dental offices, can detect the hardening of the arteries in the neck that may lead to a stroke.

Friedlander: Not infrequently in high risk patients - those in their fifties, sixties and above - with high blood pressure and a history of smoking may on their dental x-rays, have areas that appear white.

Narrator: These white areas are frequently plaque, which if broken off, can float up towards the brain, blocking oxygen and causing a stroke. According to Friedlander's study, dentists should be especially observant when examining post-menopausal women because strokes are a major cause of death in that group.

Friedlander: Once having identified these lesions, it's incumbent upon the dentist to refer the patient back to their family physician for confirmation of the diagnosis and for the management of the disorder.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.