Calgary, AB dentist discusses how periodontal disease bacteria is linked to Alzheimer’s disease
About half of the adult population has some level of gum disease, and prevalence of this serious condition increases with age. Most people are aware that periodontitis, the advanced stage of gum disease, causes tooth loss. Yet evidence of how the bacteria that cause periodontal disease are linked to other grave illnesses is not well publicized. Dental patients in the Calgary, AB area need to know that recent research points to an undeniable connection between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Poor oral health and dementia conditions
Many strains of bacteria live in the oral cavity. Some are beneficial, but others such as P. gingivalis, are detrimental to gum health. These organisms secrete a toxic enzyme called gingipains, which destroy brain neurons. P. gingivalis also contributes to increased production of amyloid beta, amino acids which form plaques in the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients.
“Science Advances” published a study exploring the correlation between P. gingivalis associated with gum disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Saliva, spinal fluid, and brain tissue from people (living and deceased) diagnosed with Alzheimer’s was analyzed. Researchers found gingipains in 96 percent of the brain tissue samples, and elevated levels in patients exhibiting symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Related animal testing confirmed that P. gingivalis can migrate from the mouth to the brain.
While oral hygiene is essential for overall wellness at any age, this study emphasizes the vital role of gum health for seniors and others at increased risk for dementia-related conditions.
Prevention of periodontal disease
This research helps us better understand Alzheimer’s disease causes and treatment. It is propelling clinical trials assessing innovative techniques such as small molecule inhibitor therapy.
Meanwhile, although periodontal disease bacteria are linked to Alzheimer’s disease, Calgary, AB patients can reduce their risk with reasonable safeguards:
- Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet with limited starches and sweets.
- Drink plenty of fresh, plain water.
- Brush teeth, using proper technique, after eating.
- Floss before going to bed.
- Maintain regular dental examination and cleaning appointments.
- Follow the dentist’s recommendations if evidence of gum disease is detected.
You can count on the hygiene team at Calgary Dental Centers as your partners in preserving gum health. Call the Macleod Trail office at (403) 768-1339 or schedule an appointment at our 17th Avenue location by calling (403) 768-1343 .