We all know how important our oral health is to our overall health, but now some studies are suggesting that gum disease is connected to Alzheimer’s. More and more evidence is appearing that shows that gum (periodontal) disease is a risk factor, and some research suggests it can double your risk if you have gum disease for ten years or more.
Breaking Down Gum Disease
The beginning of gum disease is called gingivitis. Your gums are inflamed because bacterial plaque builds up on the surface of your teeth. Gingivitis happens to around half of the adults, but is generally harmless, if it’s treated. If left untreated, it creates pockets between your teeth and gums. The pockets are bad because it will fill up with bacteria.
The pockets are a sign that it’s turned into periodontitis. Periodontitis is almost impossible to get rid of but treatments can help control it.
People who smoke, have medications, have certain genetics, food choices, puberty and pregnancy can all contribute to developing gum disease. Plus, if you don’t care of your teeth, then that’s the biggest risk factor of them all.
Gum Disease is Connected to Alzheimer’s
The bacteria called Porphyromonas gingivalis or P. gingivalis, has been found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. It appears to have spread from the mouth to the brain and destroyed nerve cells. The studies were done in mice and human trials will be happening soon.
The University of Central Lancashire was the first to notice the mouth and brain connection. P. gingivalis can recreate all the characteristic features of Alzheimer’s disease.
Of course, this isn’t the only thing that can contribute to Alzheimer’s, but it’s one way to lower your risk.
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