Your gum health may be having an impact on your cognitive function. Recent studies found a correlation between periodontal (gum) disease and increased cognitive decline for people living with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. These studies illustrate the importance of continuing the conversation about oral health and its impact on your entire body.
Periodontal (gum) disease results from certain oral bacteria that lead to infection of the gum tissues. If not treated properly, this can lead to destruction of the tissues and the surrounding fibers and bone. The bacteria can travel from the mouth, through the bloodstream, and into the brain. This is one of the mechanisms that can lead to dementia.
One of the biggest studies was administered by King’s College London and the University of Southampton. It observed 59 patients with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Blood tests were utilized to examine inflammatory markers present in the bloodstream, while patients’ dental health was examined by dental hygienists.
The study found that patients with periodontal disease experienced cognitive decline at a rate 6 times faster than those without periodontal disease. It suggested that the body’s reaction to inflammation may be responsible for causing the rapid decrease in brain function.
Previous studies have determined that periodontal disease can increase your risk of developing complications such as heart disease and stroke. Maintaining healthy gums is essential to staying healthy overall. You can keep your gums healthy by following the correct daily oral hygiene habits. This includes brushing twice each day for two minutes, as well as flossing regularly.
For those living with Alzheimer’s disease, it is imperative to maintain optimal oral health. If you are a caregiver of someone with the disease, make sure they are following an effective daily oral hygiene routine, as well as visiting our office for regular examinations.
Keeping your gums healthy may be one key to keeping your body and brain healthy throughout your lifetime. For more information about gum health, or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact us.