Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s

 In Preventative Dentistry

Gum disease can be a nasty condition to deal with, The ailment results from the infection of the tissue that holds the teeth in place. Untreated, it can result in bleeding gums and loosened teeth. According to the National Institute on Aging, gum disease can result in Alzheimer’s, the condition that robs people of their memories and, indeed, of themselves as plaque develops in brain tissue, interfering in how the human brain processes information. Gum disease and Alzheimer’s could potentially go hand in hand.

According to a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease, the bacteria that develop in the gums when they become infected travel through the bloodstream to the brain. The reaction of antibodies in the brain may result in the development of plaque that characterizes dementia.

Dementia can also make it less likely that a person suffering from it brushes and flosses properly, leading to more infection and more plaque developing. The result may well be a vicious cycle.

The study shows an association, that people who have gum disease are more likely to have Alzheimer’s, not necessarily that one causes the other. Further studies are ongoing to nail down whether causality between gum disease and dementia exists.

Meanwhile, what is a person to do with this information? You should do what your friendly dentist always recommends. You should brush and floss frequently, particularly after meals. Good dental hygiene is a good thing in its own right. Keeping both the teeth and gums clean makes sure that you will not have trouble with your teeth, resulting in very involved and often painful surgery to correct things like cavities and failing teeth. However, if the study referred to by the NIA is correct, proper dental hygiene could make it less likely that you’ll develop Alzheimer’s later in life, and all that implies. So, by all means, brush and floss and come in for your regular cleaning and examination.

For more information on gum disease and Alzheimer’s correlation, contact South Holston Dental Designs today.

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