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March 11, 2015

Gingivitis and Alzheimer’s Disease: Is There a Connection?

Filed under: Oral Health — smtusa @ 2:32 pm

dental patientAfter reviewing 20 years of data in an aging study comparing individuals at age 50 and again at age 70 researchers concluded that cognitive function using the “digit symbol test” was in the lower range for 70 year olds with gum disease. During these studies other factors such as smoking and obesity were also taken into account. Even so there was still a strong association of lower scores for those with gum inflammation. This study spurred several other studies. In the UK, researchers were able to get live brain samples from 10 Alzheimer’s patients and 10 from non-cognitive impaired patients.

Analysis showed that all 10 Alzheimer samples had P. Gingivalis bacteria present. P. Gingivalis is usually associated with chronic gum disease. The non- impaired samples did not have any of this bacteria present. This then led to another study with the time in 2014 using mice.

Once gum disease became established in the test samples, the P. Gingivalis found its way to the brain in these mice. There is sufficient evidence that shows that some bacteria that cause gum disease are capable of motion. This means that they can hitch a ride on the red blood cells when the gums bleed while eating and/or cleaning your teeth. They have even been found to travel up the nerve endings from the tooth to the brain. Once in the brain, it is hypothesized using data from the brain chemicals released that the P. Gingivalis bacteria inadvertently damages the neurons that deal with memory.

The good news, gum disease is preventable! Thorough brushing and flossing and regular dental cleanings will do far more than give you that pretty smile.

LC&Z Dentistry in Altamonte Springs specializes in general and cosmetic dentistry. If you want to learn more about gum disease and various treatments for it, please give us a call or contact us online today!

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