Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease with Good Oral Health
Excellent oral health is more than just achieving a beautiful smile – although that is certainly one of the benefits. Periodontal disease can be prevented through good oral hygiene and through this achievement, you can avoid higher risks for many other diseases and disorders, including esophageal cancer, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The Oral-Systemic Link, a revelation in the importance of oral health to overall health, now is thought to be linked to Alzheimer’s disease as well.
Correlation Between Alzheimer’s and Periodontal Disease
There has long been a link between Alzheimer’s and periodontal disease, but now that link may be dual-directional. Those with Alzheimer’s disease are prone to poor oral hygiene, often resulting in dental issues, including periodontal or gum disease. Since gum disease is known to create a higher risk for ailments such as arthritis, stroke, cancers and cardiovascular disease, adding this to the list of health issues that plague Alzheimer’s patients is a tragedy. However, now there may be signs that periodontal disease is not just a side effect of Alzheimer’s disease but possibly a risk factor.
A study performed at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) School of Medicine and Dentistry in the UK found a correlation between those with periodontal disease and a risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Brain samples from 20 deceased patients, ten of whom had been diagnosed with dementia, were studied for irregularities. Four out of ten of the dementia samples had gum disease present within their tissue. The other ten brain tissue samples from those without dementia had none of this bacteria present.
This study and others with links to dementia from gum disease are a new critical piece in understanding the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. It is thought that the bacterial presence in the brain that stems from periodontal disease could be the trigger that starts an immune response that can kill brain cells and make changes to the brain that are commonly found in Alzheimer’s patients. Although more research must be done, it is a significant link and another excellent reason to make your oral health a top priority.
Preventing Gum Disease
Protecting your beautiful smile is a great reason to pursue excellent oral health. Gum or periodontal disease can be prevented through daily brushing and flossing, combined with regular checkups and cleanings with your dentist. Even those who already have the early stages of gum disease such as gingivitis can reverse this disease with periodontal disease treatment. Improving your oral health reduces the risk of many of the diseases that are associated with the Oral-Systemic Link.
At Wurzbach Parkway Family Dental, we want to help protect your smile and your health with excellent oral care. Let us begin with a comprehensive exam and cleaning to evaluate your risk for gum disease and begin working toward the goal of excellent oral health. You deserve a healthy smile and a healthy body – contact us today to schedule your appointment.