The Link Between Gum Health and Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is a disease and type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time. Alzheimer’s accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. It is a disease that greatly affects one’s quality of life and is still being closely researched. While the direct cause of Alzheimer’s is yet to be clearly defined, researchers have found some promising links. In fact, newer evidence reveals a connection between dental health and Alzheimer’s.
According to a research study in Taiwan, there is a strong correlation between chronic gum inflammation (due to periodontitis) and the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. In the study, the participants who had more than ten years of chronic dental inflammation were 70 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. A 2017 published article on the study explains this further, “recent evidence indicates that peripheral infections, blood vessel damage and oxidative stress may aggravate inflammation in the brain and play an important role in the pathogenesis of dementia.” While these factors can certainly exist for other conditions that are known for causing Alzheimer’s, such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease, it also seems to be true for chronic gum disease, or periodontitis.
Periodontitis is Preventable
The good news is that you have control over the health of your gums. While gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss and likely a contributing factor for Alzheimer’s, it is preventable. With proper hygiene and regular visits to the dentist, you can protect yourself from the harmful effects of gum inflammation. At Gilreath Dental Associates, we take the time to evaluate the health of your gums at each visit. We take proactive measures to reverse early gum disease so that you can avoid irreversible consequences. In addition, we will carefully explain your personal risk factors for gum disease, which may include hygiene habits, family history or lifestyle habits such as smoking. If you have gums that are red, puffy or bleed easily, call our Marietta office and schedule your appointment today.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV, Gilreath Dental Associates