Alzheimer’s is a heartbreaking disease marked by the progressive loss of memory and other mental functions. More than 3 million cases of this incurable disease exist in the United States each year. While there are multiple theories about what causes Alzheimer’s, recent research has revealed a possible link between Alzheimer’s and gum disease. The same bacteria that is present in gum disease has also been shown to affect brain tissues and potentially contribute to the brain cell death that occurs in Alzheimer’s.
It is critical to take steps to prevent gum disease, as this may also help us to prevent and reduce the progression of Alzheimer’s. After all, this is not the only overall health issue that gum disease has been linked to. Untreated periodontal disease has also been associated with heart attack, stroke, diabetes and premature birth. We have serious reasons to take better care for our teeth and gums!
Gum disease typically begins with poor oral hygiene, which allows bacteria to thrive and contribute to harmful plaque on the teeth and gums. This leads to an infection where the bacteria can further deteriorate the healthy tissue and bone that support your teeth. There are many types of bacteria responsible for periodontal disease, and most produce harmful toxins, proteins and other by-products that can negatively impact the health of your entire body.
One specific strain of bacteria that is associated with gum disease is Porphyromonas Gingivalis. This is the bacteria that can kill neurons and tissues of the brain. It has recently been linked to the degenerative effects of Alzheimer’s disease. In other words, the same bacteria that may cause you to forget your daughter’s name or how to get back home can be formed in your mouth when oral hygiene is neglected. That is significant motivation to brush, floss and schedule those routine dental visits every six months!
At Marietta Dental Professionals, we understand the importance of helping patients avoid gum disease. Our office offers preventative treatments as well as gum disease therapy to reverse mild to moderate periodontal infection. Let us help you keep your mouth, body and mind as healthy as possible.