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Alzheimers and Oral Health: Is There A Connection?

Poor oral health has been being shown to have far further reaching implications than just a few cavities and missing teeth, with connections with heart disease being suspected for many years. As research continues to discover just how much of an affect your dental health has on the rest of your body, research has suggested that there may be a connection between Alzheimer’s and gum disease as well. Even more, worrying the evidence suggests that those who have had gum disease for more than 10 years actually have their risk of Alzheimer’s doubled as a result.

Gum Disease: What Is It?

The first and most common type of gum disease is known as gingivitis, and is the result of bacteria invading and attacking your teeth and gums, resulting in inflammation. This condition is experienced by nearly half of all adults, but it is possible for this condition to be reversed. Left untreated gingivitis can become more serious, turning into periodontitis. This escalation is made apparent when pockets known as ‘sub-gingival pockets’ start forming in the gum-line. Eliminating the bacteria at this stage becomes extremely problematic, though they may be controlled with proper dental care.

The Connection Of Mouth To Brain

Research performed at the University of Central Lancashire discovered that P. gingivalis, the bacteria responsible for gingivitis, has a direct connection with Alzheimer’s. Research performed on mice discovered that this bacteria can move from the mouth to brain, reproducing and causing all of the most common symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s. While Alzheimer’s isn’t directly caused by gum disease, it is clearly one of the contributing factors, along with a host of other diseases including Herpes Type I.

Brush Your Teeth

The latest research continues to find more evidence of the importance in oral health in preventing Alzheimer’s, making it just one more reason to maintain exceptional health. Thankfully all you have to do to prevent it aggravating your chances of contracting this disease is to stick by your normal oral hygiene routine. This means brushing every morning and night, as well as ensuring that you take the time to floss and get the debris out from between your teeth. Follow this up with a solid round of mouthwash and you’ll be on your way to keeping the effects of gum disease on the development of Alzheimer’s at bay.

The next step in determining just how much effect this has on Alzheimer’s is scientist’s discovering steps to determine who’s at risk. In the meantime it’s best that you work closely with your dentist to preserve your best dental health habits. If you don’t have a dentist or are looking for a new one, make a call to Dr. Shadi Heidarian in Palo Alto, CA at Heritage Park Dental and schedule an appointment today. By establishing a routine of good dental hygiene practices and regular check-ups with their staff you’ll be taking important steps to providing you and your family with the best dental health possible.

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