Dr. Adam Still at our Smile Sarasota dental practice isn’t just concerned with the health of your teeth! We believe in helping to keep your entire body, including your brain, healthy! Researchers have discovered that the bacteria causing gingivitis can move from the mouth to the brain where the harmful enzymes they excrete can destroy the nerve cells in the brain. So this new information about the relationship between oral health and Alzheimer’s is very important and is something we want our patients at Smile Sarasota to be very aware of.
Researchers at the University of Bergen have discovered a clear connection between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers have discovered that gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis) plays an important role in whether or not a person develops Alzheimer’s. According to data from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 8.52 percent of adults between 20 and 64 years of age in the United States have gum disease. Gum disease is a widespread problem that can lead to more negative outcomes, from tooth loss to an increased risk of cancer, and now…an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
Emerging evidence suggests that one of the bacteria involved in periodontitis could also contribute to the accumulation of toxic proteins in the brain, which scientists have associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease. That particular bacteria alone is not causing Alzheimer’s, but the presence of the bacteria raises the risk for developing the disease substantially and are also implicated in a more rapid progression of the disease. Efforts are now focused on a drug to combat this particular bacteria and this could lead to significant developments in either a cure or slowing down the progress of Alzheimer’s. Scientists and researchers are looking to organize a larger clinical trial, testing the effect of a drug in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease some time this year.
However, in light of this new information, the news is not all bad. The good news is that this study shows that there are some things you can do now to perhaps prevent or slow down Alzheimer’s. And it’s pretty simple…brush and floss. You don’t only avoid decay by being diligent with your dental homecare – you can also avoid gum disease and maybe Alzheimer’s. If you have gum disease as well as a history of Alzheimer’s in your family, it is extremely important to come in regularly to Smile Sarasota for your checkups and cleanings and be extra diligent with brushing and flossing at home.
Sources and Credits: Science Daily, Perio.org, Science Advances, The University of Bergen