Researchers in Germany found in a 2004 study that gum disease increased the risk of an ischemic stroke in patients with severe periodontitis, particularly for men and those under 60. An ischemic stroke is caused by a blocked blood vessel that delivers blood to the brain. The link between gum disease and stroke is the inflammation present for both and the hardening of the arteries that results from it. Experts agree that by preventing gum disease, you decrease the risk factor for certain types of stroke.