Study Finds Gum Disease Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease
As your family dentist in Longmont, our team at Twin Peaks Family & Cosmetic Dentistry strives to protect the long-term health of all of our patients.
While it’s easy to think of your oral health as only relating to your teeth and gums, a growing amount of research has actually found strong connections between our oral and overall health.
Individuals that suffer from dental decay and gum disease have a significantly higher risk of developing a range of chronic health conditions that include cardiovascular disease, stroke, and even dementia.
According to a new study, chronic gum inflammation – more commonly referred to as the severe form of gum disease periodontitis – is linked with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, report Taiwanese researchers.
Chronic periodontitis – the primary cause of permanent tooth loss in adults – has also been linked with increases in markers for inflammation throughout the body. Some recent additional research suggests that chronic periodontitis may even contribute to a decline in cognitive ability, notes researchers in the journal Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy.
An Increased Risk
Researchers from Chung Shan Medical University in Taichung City used data collected by Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database to determine whether patients over the age of 50 with chronic periodontitis were at a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared to those without gum disease.
While researchers found no direct connection between gum disease and Alzheimer’s, they did discover that individuals who had chronic periodontitis for more than 10 years were 70 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s when compared to those with healthy gums.
The link between Alzheimer’s and long-term periodontitis was present even after researchers adjusted the results of their findings for additional factors that might contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s, such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and living environment.
“Our findings support the notion that infectious diseases associated with low-grade inflammation, such as chronic periodontitis, may play a substantial role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease,” wrote researchers.
“These findings highlight the need to prevent progression of periodontal disease and promote healthcare services at the national level.”
“In fact, it is believed that the association between periodontitis and Alzheimer’s disease may be bi-directional. Currently, with the scientific evidence that is available, we cannot be sure if the risk factor is either periodontal disease or Alzheimer’s disease,” noted researchers.
Lowering Your Risk
Fortunately, you can easily lower your risk of gum disease and dental decay by simply practicing quality oral hygiene at home and by scheduling regular exams and cleanings with your family dentist in Longmont.
Brushing and flossing help to remove harmful oral bacteria from the surface of your teeth and below the gum line. This bacteria – commonly referred to as plaque – greatly increases the risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and dental disease. By brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily, you can successfully lower your risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
Of course, enjoying the best oral health possible also requires receiving regular preventative dental care.
By scheduling regular cleanings and exams, you provide our team at Twin Peaks Dental the opportunity to spot any signs of the disease early on while still easily treatable and reversible.
Considering the long-term implications associated with poor oral health, it’s become clear that maintaining our dental hygiene matters more than just to the state of our smiles. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Schedule your next dental exam with your family dental in Longmont today!