Did you know that new research has shown that those with untreated gum disease have a higher risk of Alzheimer’s dementia? Dementia is a devastating way to spend the twilight years. You might think, what has Alzheimer’s got to do with my teeth? Scientists are increasingly discovering how the mouth is a window to the entire body.
In 2019, researchers found inside the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, the same bacteria (P. gingivalis) that is the most responsible for gum disease. They also found the unique toxin (gingipain) that bacteria produces in the patients’ brains. That means that this bacteria was able to travel from the gums through the bloodstream and even cross into the brain. The researchers took it a step further and introduced P. gingvalis to mouse brains and were able to cause Alzheimers in otherwise healthy mice.
Many chronic diseases have been associated with gum disease. The main connection is chronic inflammation. When the gums become unhealthy, they spread destructive signal molecules throughout the body that cause inflammation. This process coming from the gums has been directly linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, autoimmune disease, and cancer.
Alzheimer’s Society Research Findings
According to research conducted by The Alzheimer’s Society, those who suffered from gum disease declined six times faster into Alzheimer’s than those who did not show signs of gum disease. Clinical trials are always being conducted, and more of them will be conducted in the future. What you should know is that there seems to be connection between the inflammatory response in the physical body as well as the brain.
Once some has dementia, their oral health can suffer more because they may forget to brush their teeth, among other challenges.
While these findings may strike us with fear and confusion, there is hope. Gingivitis and gum disease are very treatable. The periodontist is a dentist with residency training that specializes in managing gum disease, so that you can have a healthy mouth and healthy body. Reach out to your local periodontist if you have questions.
Getting Help in Colorado Springs
Do you live in the Colorado Springs area and have questions about Alzheimer’s and/or gum disease? Contact our office to get answers to your questions.