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The Link Between Alzheimer’s & Gum Disease

added on: March 13, 2019

There’s a saying in the dental world: Your mouth is a gateway to your body’s health. Many people don’t realize just how connected their oral health is to their total wellness. One such connection has been shown in a recent scientific study on the link between Alzheimer’s and gum disease. Let’s dive into the interesting findings!

elderly woman with alzheimer's and gum disease

The Bacterium

A study published in Science Advances found that the bacterium called Porphyromonas gingivalis (or Pg for short) that’s related to gum disease is also connected to brain disease. Through testing on mice, the scientists discovered that Pg could move from the mouth to the brain. Moreover, Pg’s toxic protein called gingipain can destroy neurons in your brain.

The Immune System Response

Researchers have hypothesized that when bacteria from gum disease enters the brain, it could set off a response in the immune system, which ends up killing brain cells. It’s possible that this response is what leads to the changes in brain function associated with Alzheimer’s.

The Likelihood of Developing the Conditions

Another study determined that people over the age of 70 who had been living with gum disease for over a decade were 70% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s compared to those without gum disease.

While more studies need to be done, including those to determine which condition is the actual cause of the other, it’s clear that preventing gum disease is important for your long-term health.

Need help fighting gum disease? The Caring Smiles dental team is on your side! Call or email our practice today to set up an appointment and get started on the path toward a healthier smile.

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