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How Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s Are Connected, and How to Prevent the Decline

May 15, 2017

When you think of gum disease you probably think of bleeding gums, loose teeth, and other problems in your mouth. And while gum disease certainly does involve these things, that’s not the only problem it brings.

The evidence for a connection between gum disease and the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s is clear, but fortunately there are things you can do to prevent the decline of your mental faculties.

Gum disease can contribute to a cognitive decline

When examining the brain tissue of some people who suffered from Alzheimer’s, researchers discovered the presence of a type of bacteria usually found in the mouth—and involved with gum disease. After doing more research, they concluded that the bacteria entered the bloodstream in the mouth and eventually ended up in the brain.

Once in the brain, the bacteria can trigger an immune response from the body. This response can have the side effect of killing brain cells, leading to some of the issues with dementia that many senior people have.

You can prevent the decline

This discovery underscores the importance of proper oral hygiene. Dentists have long told their patients that proper brushing and flossing, in combination with regular checkups and cleanings, can go a long ways towards staving off the development of gum disease.

Now, with the connection between gum disease and Alzheimer’s, there is just one more reason to actively pursue a regular and thorough oral hygiene regimen. In so doing, you won’t just save your gums; rather, you’ll save your cognitive abilities, too.

If you have any questions about gum disease, please contact our office. We are happy to sit down with you and answer your questions. We want to help you maintain a healthy and happy smile.