There is a link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s. Taking care of oral health can delay or reduce the risk of developing cognitive impairments. In honor of Alzheimer’s awareness month, Dr James Fondriest would like to discuss how taking care of your oral health can help delay or reduce the risk entirely of developing cognitive impairments typical of Alzheimer’s disease sufferers.
Inflammation from gum disease and your brain
Researchers from the NYU dental school completed a study in 2010 finding links between the inflammation brought on by gum disease and inflammation of the brain that often accompanies cognitive impairment, neurodegeneration, and Alzheimer’s disease. The study borrowed data from the Glostrop Aging Study, which had gathered numerous data from Danish men and women. Analyzing over 152 subjects, the head of the study, Dr. Angela Kamer, found that those with periodontal disease and inflammation were nine times more likely to have impaired cognitive abilities. The link between the two is still being examined more carefully, but appears to be the body’s response to the mouth bacteria that causes gum disease. The same antibodies that tell your gums to swell can mistakenly cause other parts of your body to swell too, including your brain.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is any disease that affects the periodontal tissue, including the alveolar bone, which supports tooth roots, and the gums around your teeth that you see every time you look in the mirror. The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis and is reversible with proper care of the gums and teeth. As periodontal disease progresses, however, damage can be irreversible. Advanced gum problems, also known as periodontitis, can lead to bone loss, detachment of gums from teeth, extreme swelling and bleeding of the gums, and tooth loss. The same immune responses that try to protect your body from gum disease can end up harming your cognitive function, as discussed above.
Avoiding Gum Disease
Maybe you never thought that brushing your teeth could help avoid Alzheimer’s disease, but by maintaining your oral health you’re helping the rest of your body out a great deal. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss at least once a day, and talk with your Lake Forest dentist about scheduling regular dental cleanings to ensure that any cavities or beginning stages of gum disease are dealt with properly.
Learn more about the link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s
Contact us today to schedule an appointment. If you have suffered from gum disease or tooth loss, our office can help you to maintain healthy dental habits with a consultation about dental bridges or implants. Call your Chicago dentist today at (847) 234-0517. Dr. James Fondriest is proud to serve the Chicago, Illinois area.