More than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s, a form of dementia, which attacks the brain and severely diminishes its mental acuity, affecting daily functions. Most people have heard of it, but few know that better brushing could actually limit your risk of Alzheimer’s.
Though the jury is still out, several studies have found a link between poor dental care, periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s. Chronic gum inflammation is suspected to increase the risk of the disease.
A Possible Connection Between Alzheimer’s and Bad Teeth?
Though the findings are still in the chicken vs. the egg debate, scientists think that bacterial attacks on the brain related to poor dental hygiene and periodontal disease could be a cause of Alzheimer’s.
As an article in the Express explains:
“Researchers believe that when the bacteria reach the brain in the bloodstream, they trigger an immune response that can lead to the death of brain cells called neurons. This process could help drive the changes that are typical of Alzheimer’s disease, causing symptoms of confusion and brain loss.”
A Clear Path to Better Health
Scientists may not yet have a definitive conclusion on dental health and the risk of Alzheimer’s, but what is clear is brushing twice a day and seeing a dentist regularly can have prolonged benefits to health, both to the teeth and the overall body.
“This new research indicates a possible association between gum disease and individuals who may be susceptible to developing Alzheimer’s disease, if exposed to the appropriate trigger,” said John Crean, dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry at UCLan, told Desert News. “But it remains to be proven whether poor dental hygiene can lead to dementia in healthy people, which obviously could have significant implication for the population as a whole. It is also likely that these bacteria could make the existing disease condition worse.”
Of course, people with dementia may also be less able to take care of their teeth. This new research stresses the importance of proper brushing by caregivers. Great dental care likely affects not only the mouth but the rest of the body and even the functions of the mind.
How long has it been since you’ve seen your Cincinnati family dentist? You can add limiting the risk to dementia to the long list of already known benefits of regular cleanings and consistent brushing.