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Great Oral Health and Your Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

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Alzheimer's Disease and Dental Health

Never sacrifice your dental health.

The connection between poor dental health and worsening Alzheimer’s conditions is relatively new information with enormous benefits.  Whether you’ve ever known someone with a form of dementia or not this blog is for you.  The risk of cognitive impairments later in life has been on an upward trend for the last 50 years.

Are you ready to break the trend?  Then let’s dive right in.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s is an accelerated version of dementia (60-80% of cases) that impacts your memory, thinking, and behaviors in every area of your life.  This ongoing disease has no cure, varied symptoms that typically start after the age of 65, and progresses differently in every patient due to a wide variety of conditions.

According to the CDC Alzheimer’s ranks fifth in terms of the case for death in people 65 years or older, of which 90% of adults do not see any symptoms until after the age of 60.  There are a lot of various treatment options available for Alzheimer’s so if you suspect you or someone you know may have it, you should contact your doctor.

The growing concern of Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease first appeared about 100 years ago and has been on a steady upward trend in the last 50 years.  In the United States 10% of those in their sixties, 20% in their seventies, and 30% of people in their eighties suffer from Alzheimer’s.

The connection between Alzheimer’s and dentistry

Published in May 2013 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease the University of Central Lancashire School of medicine and dentistry found connections between dentistry and Alzheimer’s.  Ten patients with and without dementia were studied.  All ten patients with dementia were found to have gum disease-related bacteria in their brains while none of the patients without dementia had this bacteria.

This bacteria enters the bloodstream and can get transported directly to your brain, which triggers an immune system reaction that inevitably leads to brain impairment. This is due to the chemicals that kill neurons in the parts of your brain that are vulnerable to Alzheimer’s.  Dr. Sim K. Singhrao who ran this study added that as your brain becomes exposed to this gum bacteria, subsequent immune responses may lead to nerve cell death and memory loss.

This protein may prevent Alzheimer’s Disease:

A research team recently found evidence of a human protein in your gums that surround your teeth that have benefits beyond oral health helping your body fight gum disease which can lead to neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s.

The findings of the study were published by a researcher and professor named Antonio Nanci, from the University of Montreal along with colleagues from McGill University and Laval Universite.  

Nancy who shed light on how the protein called (SCPPPQ1)’s antibacterial properties said “the antibacterial potential of this protein can both limit gum disease and can also be used to check the effects of bacterial on your brain.”  It could also help our immune system become more resistant to the bacteria that enter your bloodstream from your gums.

Gum disease contributes to brain impairment

In 2016 a new study revealed the link between gum disease and cognitive health decline in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.  The dental health of 52 participants with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s was monitored for about 6 months.  The dental health of each participant was assessed with blood samples, inflammatory markers, and various cognitive tests. 

The Alzheimer patients that also had gum disease had a cognitive decline that was 6 times as bad as the patients without gum disease due to their bodies increased inflammatory response.  The research strongly supports how effective gum treatment can reduce inflammatory bacteria and elevated risks of cognitive decline.

Iron (red meats) can increase brain damage

It was also found through MRIs of healthy and unhealthy brains that Iron in the brain (beware of red meats) can lead to brain damage.  If you’re going to enjoy a steak dinner or your typical diet contains a lot of iron, regular visits to see your dentist for cleanings are even more important.

Conclusion (dental health and brain health are connected)

Alzheimer’s disease is an incurable disease that may be preventable with practicing great oral health like always remembering to floss each day (and properly), brushing your tongue, using a fluoride mouthwash, and brushing your teeth twice a day.

If you would like to ask our dental clinic in London Ontario any questions or schedule an appointment you can use our Request An Appointment form, email us at Info@sbenatidentistry.ca, or give us a call at (519)-474-0220 we’d love to meet you.

If you enjoyed this article check out our other blogs.

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