As you age, there is one worry in the back of your mind—Alzheimer’s disease. This debilitating condition is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that more than 5.7 million Americans are living with it. As the brain deteriorates, it can lead to memory loss and decrease cognitive abilities, significantly impacting one’s quality of life. While it remains unclear the exact cause of the condition, new research suggests that it can be linked to your dental health. Now, it is more important than ever to maintain your oral hygiene and to visit your dentist in Reston regularly.
ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND YOUR ORAL HEALTH
In 2010, researchers from New York University conducted a study to evaluate the link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease. The study involved 152 participants who were evaluated during a 20-year time span.
Researchers found that those who were over the age of 70 and had gum disease had low scores for cognitive functions. In fact, the study’s participants were 9 times as likely to have a lower score if they suffered from gum inflammation.
Since the study was relatively small, UK-based researchers wanted to understand the link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease even further. They compared brain samples from 10 living patients who had Alzheimer’s disease to 10 samples from those who did not. They found that a specific strain of bacteria was in the samples taken from Alzheimer’s patients. The bacteria that was discovered is typically associated with chronic gum disease.
The research did not stop there. In 2014, a new study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, which discussed significant scientific evidence that shows two of three gum disease-causing bacteria found in brain tissues of mice.
It is believed that the brain is affected by the infection as bacteria leaves the mouth and enters the bloodstream when pressure is placed on the teeth, such as when chewing. It may also travel through the nerves that connect the roots of the teeth to the brain.
PREVENT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE WITH ORAL HYGIENE
The research connecting gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease is especially alarming as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that half of adults have the infection. Although it is common, it can easily be avoided with proper oral hygiene habits at home and regular care from your Reston dentist.
If you suspect that you have the infection, do not wait. Contact your dentist right away for gum disease treatment.