September 21st is World Alzheimer’s Day. It is a time for all people to educate themselves on the debilitating condition. Research suggests there may be a possible link between chronic gum disease and Alzheimer’s. In addition to the variety of reasons to avoid developing periodontal disease, having a reduced chance of getting Alzheimer’s later in life is certainly a good one to bear in mind.
Although more research is necessary to prove a more definitive link, one study consisting of 20,000 participants within the Swedish Twin Register found a potential causality. Within this group, there were 109 pairs of twins in which only a single twin got dementia later in life. This was seen as highly unusual because Alzheimer’s disease tends to have a genetic component.
However, researchers also took into accounts the twins’ health histories and found that developing an oral inflammation early in life could lead to an increased risk of dementia years later. While further confirmation is necessary, having people avoid gum disease earlier in life could play a role in preventing the development of Alzheimer’s later.
Some researchers believe the reason for the link is due to oral bacteria entering the bloodstream and reaching the brain. Through dental treatments, flossing and chewing, periodontal bacteria enters the bloodstream and can remain there for hours at a time. One theory is that the bacteria can bypass the blood-brain barrier and destroy nerve tissue, increasing the likelihood of cognitive issues later in life.
More research is necessary because as of now, it is unclear whether the relationship between the two conditions is causal or coincidental. It is possible people who maintain poor health practices have an increased risk of developing many diseases, including periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s in tandem.
The office of Dr. Brian Francis offers virtually painless and minimally invasive laser gum treatment in Billings, MT as a minimally invasive way to treat gum disease. See if you need this treatment by contacting the office of Brian Francis, DMD Aesthetic & Family Dental Center at (406) 206-6556 and scheduling an appointment today.