Possible Link Between Gum Disease and Alzheimer's

Maintaining good oral hygiene could lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to recent research that found links between gum disease and Alzheimer’s.

In a study of 20 patients – 10 with Alzheimer’s disease and 10 without – researchers at The University of Central Lancashire School of Medicine found that 40% of the patients who had Alzheimer’s also had the gum disease bacteria lipopolysaccharides in their brains. None of the patients without Alzheimer’s carried this bacteria.

Researchers of this study suggest that the bacteria, which can be carried through the bloodstream to various parts of the body, gets into the brain; once there, the immune system kills brain cells while fighting off the bacteria.

While the results of this study suggest a relationship between gum disease and Alzheimer’s, the small sample size limits the generalizability of the findings. Lipopolysaccharides bacteria may be present in people with Alzheimer’s because of poor dental hygiene after the onset of the disease.

However, in a separate study conducted by Cortexyme, Inc., researchers found a relationship between periodontitis and Alzheimer’s. The bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis, which causes periodontitis, was present in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.

Researchers suggest that the presence of this bacteria in patients with Alzheimer’s and in patients with Alzheimer’s but not dementia is evidence that there is a causal relationship between the periodontitis bacteria and the onset of Alzheimer’s. That means that the presence of the bacteria could lead to cognitive decline, rather than the decline being the cause of poor dental hygiene.

Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene

Findings from both studies imply that poor dental hygiene may increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Gum disease develops as bacteria in your mouth builds up. However, through proper care of your teeth, you can prevent gum disease. Brushing twice a day, flossing, and regularly seeing your dentist can keep bacteria from building up on your teeth.

Dedicated and Passionate Dental Health Professionals in Grand Blanc

If you are looking to prevent gum disease or are showing symptoms, we are ready to assist you. At Werschky, Lewis & Slatton Family Dentistry, we have over 50 years of combined experience providing high-quality oral health care to families in Genesee County. Our dedicated and friendly team is happy to help you maintain your dental health.

Contact us online or call us at (810) 671-5616 to schedule an appointment.

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