Link Shown Between Poor Dental Health And Alzheimer’s

Daniel Vinograd

A study has show that those who have gum disease and practice poor oral hygiene may be at an increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease over those who have good teeth.

The research, conducted in the United Kingdom at the University of Central Lancashire, found that people who have dementia sometimes have the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis, associated with gum disease, in their brains. This was found in brain samples of 10 patients with dementia that were donated for medical research compared with 10 brain samples that came from people without this brain condition.

This limited study was published in the respected Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

This type of bacteria is usually found in the mouth and goes into the bloodstream through all sorts of activities that people do every day, like chewing and eating as well as brushing the teeth. The bacteria is at an increased likelihood of entering the bloodstream immediately following invasive dental treatment.

This study is another in a line of research findings that show a strong link between the brain condition Alzheimer’s Disease and poor oral condition. Researchers in New York found in 2010 evidence that linked the brain issue with gum inflammation. They concluded that gum disease can increase cognitive dysfunction.

Those analyzing the current research indicate that while a link between dementia and other kinds of bacteria and viruses is already established, there has never been evidence of a possible connection between gum disease and Alzheimer’s. The indication of dental work as a trigger is also new.

More research is needed, experts say, to establish whether the link can be proven completely. It isn’t known if bad dental hygiene can cause dementia in healthy people or whether the existence of the bacteria can make an existing dementia condition worse.

It’s even possible that presence of Porphyromonas gingivalis could prove to be a blood test marker that predicts Alzheimer’s development or high risk.

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