Gum Disease Linked to Alzheimer’s

alzheimersYour mouth is the gateway into your body and at Start Smiling Dental we have always stressed the importance of preventative care.   Poor home care, genetics, and lack of dental care can lead to Periodontal (gum) disease, which can not only lead to tooth loss but other health issues as well.  We’ve known for a while that gum disease can contribute to cardiovascular (heart) disease and the progression of diabetes. Now, there is also evidence linking it to Alzheimer’s disease.

What causes periodontal (gum) disease?

A bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis), is one of the causes of gum disease. These bacteria cause your gums to become inflamed and bleed easily. As it advances, toxins produced by the bacteria cause a chronic inflammatory response, which causes the gums to pull away from your teeth and destroy the surrounding bone. This allows the toxins to enter your blood stream.

How are gum disease and Alzheimer’s related?

Researchers have now observed the bacteria, P. gingivalis, in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. They also conducted tests on mice that showed the presence of these bacteria led to an increased production of amyloid beta, a part of the amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

This study adds to the evidence of a link between gum disease and dementia related diseases. Last year a previous study found that patients with chronic periodontal disease (ongoing at least 10 years) had a 70% higher risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia symptoms.

 

How can I keep my mouth healthy & lower my risk of Alzheimer’s?

The good news is that you can protect your overall health with preventative dental care! Good homecare is the first step and includes brushing at least twice a day, and flossing at least once a day.  It is also important to see our office for preventative cleanings and exams at least twice a year to catch any problems while they are small. Our doctors are trained to recognize gum disease in the early stages and our hygienists can provide the treatment you need to keep it from progressing. And, should you already have gum disease, it’s not too late to reduce the effects this bacteria could have on your health with proper treatment. It’s important not only to save your teeth, but possibly your life as well.

Call our office today (404-255-6782) for a complimentary gum disease screening and we can help you on the path to good health!