Alzheimer’s which has been suspected to be more of a degenerative disease has a direct link to periodontitis. “Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease or an infection of the tissues that support teeth”, says the American Dental Association (ADA). Gum disease is a common dental health condition where the gums become infected due to deposition of tartar on the teeth. It can be prevented by brushing and flossing regularly to get rid of plaque. However, when left untreated, the inflammation can become chronic and start to cause disease in other areas of your body.

Reported by the CNN, “The bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis, known as Pg, causes the gum infection chronic periodontitis, causing chronic inflammation and potential loss of teeth.” A research was conducted by Dr. Stephen Dominy and Casey Lynch, the originator of Cortexyme, a renowned pharmaceutical firm. The researchers went a step ahead and conducted the same test on mice and found that it led to brain colonization of the bacteria and increase in amyloid beta (Aβ), another major marker of Alzheimer’s disease.

Porphyromonas gingivalis is one of the major causes of gum disease and tooth loss in humans and has also been associated with artery damage.

These findings are taken from the latest edition of journal Science Advances. Tests on mice confirmed that the bacteria travels from the mouth to the brain and gives rise to a toxic protein, called gingipain, which has a crucial role in destroying brain neurons.

Alzheimer usually affects people aged 60 and over. It is more likely to occur if your mouth and gums are diseased. As per the studies stated above, there is a long-term evidence that periodontal (gum) disease may increase the risk of cognitive dysfunction associated with Alzheimer’s. Not everyone who suffers from gum disease develops Alzheimer’s disease and not all who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease have gum disease. So, you don’t need to panic and as we say there is always a room for improvement, you can anytime reverse the situation from getting worse by regular brushing, flossing and dental cleanings.

As reported by the BBC News, currently there is no cure or effective treatment. However, keeping your oral health maintained is the only way to prevent gum disease. The important things you can do to maintain your oral health are:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day
  • Flossing your teeth regularly once a day
  • Routine checkup with your dentist
  • Taking a balanced diet which is low in sugar, acid

It simply indicates that taking care of your teeth and gums is equally important at any age. Regardless of having been diagnosed with periodontal disease or not, you must offer regular and continuous visits to your dentist. A consistent and effective oral hygiene plays another important role in keeping your oral health maintained for long.

These healthy choices will help you reduce or eliminate the occurrence of periodontal disease. Use products like fluoride, dental sealants, mouth rinses or gels that help reduce tooth decay. Researches say that getting a regular professional dental cleaning and x-ray is also an important step in maintaining great oral health.

Gum disease is more likely to be treated when caught early. Since it does not show or produces any symptoms, it is important to keep up with regular dental cleanings and X-ray. Scheduling an oral cancer screening with us would be the right way to start. Our dentists will help discover the early onset of gum disease. Contact us today to set up an appointment for your next dental checkup!