The Alzheimer’s Disease and Oral Health Connection
Oral health has a big impact on your confidence and appearance, but it can have other implications in your life as well. In fact, oral health is correlated with other health conditions of varying severity.
One of the more serious connections exists between oral health and Alzheimer’s disease. A study published in January of 2019 connects Alzheimer’s disease to a certain type of bacteria that is also linked to the gum disease gingivitis.
The bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis is found in the mouth along with other places in the body. In the mouth, it leads to periodontitis, a gum infection that causes damage to the soft tissue and the bone that supports the teeth. Commonly called “gum disease,” periodontitis can lead to tooth loss if not properly treated.
The connection to Alzheimer’s
This particular bacteria can move from the mouth to the brain. In the brain, the bacteria release harmful enzymes that destroy nerve cells. This can ultimately lead to memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, or can worsen Alzheimer’s disease if it is already present.
What you can do
Good oral health may not prevent Alzheimer’s with any level of certainty, but the correlation between this bacteria and Alzheimer’s is worth considering. Make sure you do all of the following to care for your oral health properly and avoid the proliferation of this harmful bacteria.
- Brush and floss twice a day. This is the most basic way to properly care for your teeth at home. Ask your dentist for technique suggestions and product recommendations that match your specific oral health needs.
- Visit the dentist regularly. Regularly scheduled cleanings will help you make sure no serious problems are developing with your teeth or gums.
- Use mouthwash. Mouthwash can give you a second line of defense against certain types of mouth bacteria, including Porphyromonas gingivalis.
- Watch for symptoms of periodontitis. Periodontitis is treatable by your dentist, particularly in the early stages. If your gums are swollen or tender, or bleed when brushing, talk to your dentist about what you can do to prevent or treat periodontitis.
The connection between oral health and overall health is becoming more and more apparent, as researchers discover links between oral health and things like Alzheimer’s disease.
At Smile Concepts, we want you to have a happy, healthy smile that you are confident sharing with the world. Call us today at 480-951-2800 to learn more about how we can help you with your oral health.