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Alzheimer’s Disease & Dental Health: Why Brushing Lowers Your Risk

We know you understand oral health is important — but do you know that healthy teeth and gums can actually lower your risk for a disease like Alzheimer’s in years to come? It’s surprising, but a growing body of evidence has linked the disease to periodontal disease and poor dental hygiene overall.

Weird Science

In fact, gum disease that persists for a decade or more could double your risk for Alzheimer’s. In fact, a study published in Science Advances shows how a type of bacteria associated with gum disease known as Porphyromonas gingivalis — or P. gingivalis — has been found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Tests on mice also showed how the bug spread from their mouth to brain to destroy nerve cells.

This bacteria can be found in oral cavities. It enters the bloodstream through a number of daily activities such as chewing, eating, and brushing your teeth. Dental treatments can also release the bacteria where it may enter the brain. Essentially, having this bacteria in your mouth can expose your brain and increase the risk.

“Research currently under way at UCLAN is playing an active role in exploring this link, but it remains to be proven whether poor dental hygiene can lead to dementia in healthy people, which obviously could have significant implications for the population as a whole,” states Professor St John Crean, from the School of Medical Dentistry at UCLAN. “It is also likely that these bacteria could make the existing disease condition worse.”

Brush for Health

We’re not saying everyone who has gum disease will come down with Alzheimer’s disease — just that there’s a connection. And more importantly, your oral health can have significant impact on your overall health. So brush your teeth. See your dentist regularly. It’s good for your smile — but it’s also good for your heart, brain, and lifestyle. We care about you and want you to be healthy. Your smile — and your health — is important to us. Brush, floss, take care of yourself.

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