What we know is that people with periodontal disease (gum disease) quadruple their risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This is a significant finding.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are increasing significantly due to our aging population. 40 000 have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s in New Zealand. It is expected that numbers will rise to 200 000 in the next 50 years.
While the exact cause is unknown, there seems to be a strong link with the inflammatory process and Alzheimer’s. Recent studies are looking at the oral bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis and Streptococcus sanguis which are present in the mouth and particularly present when there is periodontal disease. These bacteria have been linked to increase heart attack risk, increase premature baby risk, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and strokes.
Theories and studies are now looking at the spread of oral bacteria to the brain and secondly their direct effect on the inflammatory process seen in Alzheimer’s patients’ brains. It is thought the damage to the brain occurs as a result of the inflammatory process in response to the bacteria in the body. So a heavier burden of bacteria can cause an increased inflammatory response throughout the body and brain.
Studies have shown conclusively that people with good oral hygiene and the absence of periodontal disease have a decreased risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. Now it appears that a healthy mouth may also help prevent or slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. This is definitely another reason to see your dentist and hygienist to keep your mouth and brain healthy and disease free.
Keep your mouth healthy. Book an appointment now or call the friendly team at Tooth Fairy Dental.