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The Link Between Gum Disease And Alzheimer’s Disease

Could Good Oral Health Help In The Prevention Of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Beyond Plaque And Why Good Dental Hygiene Is So Important.

Almost everyone would agree that poor dental hygiene can lead to so many dental problems like gum disease and tooth decay but poor dental hygiene habits can also lead to more serious health issues. The list of health issues that start in the mouth is a long list but here is a look at the link between poor oral health and Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers at New York University (NYU) conducted an in-depth study that indicated a direct link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease. They reviewed over a period of 20 years of data before coming to this conclusion.

The data was derived from 152 people that were participants in the Glostrop Aging Study. This research group studied the psychological, medical and oral health of Danish elders.

This study spanned over a 20 year period. Cognitive functions were compared at the ages of 50 to 70. The researchers of NYU found a direct correlation to low cognitive function and gum disease. Participants were 9 times more likely to score low in the test of cognitive function if they also had gum disease.

A group of the University of Central Lancashire researchers in the UK did a study in 2013. They sampled brain cells from 20 different individuals. 10 of these people had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and the other 10 did not have the disease. Analysis revealed that gum disease was present in the patients who had Alzheimer’s disease. Those 10 people who did not have Alzheimer’s also did not have gum disease.

This same team of researchers did a follow-up in 2014 with mice who were given the gingivitis bacteria and the results indicated that there was “sufficient scientific evidence to show that two of the three gum disease-causing bacteria are capable of motion (or “motile”) and have been consistently found in brain tissue”.

The mobility of the bacteria that causes gum disease allows it to reach the brain. One of the paths that the bacteria will take is to crawl up the nerves that connect the brain and the roots of the teeth. The other path is through the blood circulation system.

We will continue to bring you more information on the correlation between gum disease and other diseases in future posts but in the meantime, practice good oral health and please see us regularly.

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  1. Pingback: How Improving Your Oral Health Can Improve Your Over-All Health - Susan Weinberg DMD, Dentistry for the Entire Family

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