It’s no secret that gum disease is a serious health condition. But did you know that it could also be linked to Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is a scary form of dementia that unfortunately affects millions of people across the world. The exact causes are unknown, but a recent study may have uncovered the secret link between oral health and Alzheimer’s disease.
How does gum disease lead to Alzheimer’s?
According to a 2020 study conducted by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), it could be due to the fact that the bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis is associated with both gum disease and Alzheimer’s.
The team examined whether gum disease and infections with oral bacteria were linked to dementia diagnoses in more than 6,000 participants over 26 years of follow-up. At baseline, they compared different age groups, and then followed up with blood tests for antibodies against causative bacteria. They analyzed antibodies against 19 oral bacteria for an association with the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, diagnosis of any kind of dementia, and death from Alzheimer’s. Of these 19, Porphyromonas gingivalis is the most common culprit of gum disease.
A recent study suggests that plaques of beta-amyloid protein, a major hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, may be produced as a response to Porphyromonas gingivalis. The analysis revealed that older adults with signs of gum disease and mouth infections were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those without such symptoms.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. It can cause bleeding gums, loose teeth, and even tooth loss. The bacteria and inflammatory molecules they make can travel up from infections in the mouth through the bloodstream to the brain. This can lead to stroke and other serious health problems.
Luckily, gum disease is very preventable!
How To Prevent Gum Disease
If you want to keep your smile bright and healthy, it’s important to take care of your gums. Here are some tips for preventing gum disease:
Brush twice daily. This will help remove plaque from your teeth, which can cause gum disease.
Clean between teeth with floss or an interdental once a day. Plaque is hard to reach between teeth, so it’s important to use floss or an interdental brush regularly.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Foods high in fat or sugar can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, so remember to keep your plate balanced.
Don’t smoke or reduce smoking. Smoking reduces blood flow to the gums and increases plaque buildup on your teeth—both of which can lead to gum disease.
Keep an eye out for signs of gingivitis. Signs include redness around the base of your teeth and bleeding when you brush or floss. If you notice these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist right away!
You don’t always have time to visit the dentist, but you can make sure you’re keeping up on your oral hygiene. Let Enable Dental come to you!
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Our portable dental technology and tools are designed to empower patients—no matter where they are or what their circumstances are—to take better care of themselves and live a healthier lifestyle. We go anywhere you need us: your room, bedside, or wherever it is that makes you comfortable. Just visit our website and we’ll get started right away!