We recently sat with Dr. Amanda Tavoularis from dentably.com and discussed the connection between oral health and Alzheimer’s.
Before advances in modern medicine, few people realized the tremendous impact of oral health on overall health. Recently, numerous studies have proven these links repeatedly.
Oral hygiene has been linked to mental health, fertility, and immune system health. Our bodies are impacted by oral hygiene and your blood can become infected due to bacteria in the mouth.
More recently, studies have linked oral care with Alzheimer’s risk. I have over 20 years of experience as a dentist and spent many of those years working with patients with Alzheimer’s. Because I also have a loved one who has Alzheimer’s, I am passionate about educating and ensuring that they receive top care.
Because of my personal experience, I know that this diagnosis is challenging for both patients and their families. My professional contribution to these families is to educate them to ensure their loved ones can live the best possible life regardless of the diagnosis.
When my studies led me to the link between poor oral hygiene and Alzheimer’s, I had to learn more. I have learned about the connection and how you can prevent the risk factors for Alzheimer’s that crop up due to oral issues.
Evidence Linking Gingivitis to Alzheimer’s
Science Advances magazine recently published a study that links these two disorders. The Porphyromonas gingivalis bacteria found in the mouth are the leading cause of gum disease and gingivitis. The study examined the brains of older adults with Alzheimer’s. It discovered that this bacterium had escaped the mouth and entered the brain. From there, it released an enzyme known as gingipain, which destroys the nerve cells in the brain and causes the type of memory loss that leads to Alzheimer’s.
This study examined the brains of a group of deceased patients who have suffered from Alzheimer’s, and high levels of gingipain were discovered in nearly all of these brains. These gingipain levels increase over time, which means there is a tipping point that may be a marker for when symptoms of Alzheimer’s begin.
Another study examined two decades of data linking gum inflammation to Alzheimer’s. They linked inflammation of the gums to inflammation in the brain that leads to Alzheimer’s disease. The study linked inflamed gums with decreased brain functioning and an elevated risk for Alzheimer’s.
Prevention Through Oral Care
The good news is that all these risk factors can be eliminated. You can help prevent these risks through proper oral care and hygiene.
Brushing your teeth regularly will be good for your oral hygiene. However, one such research indicates that brushing your teeth may postpone Alzheimer’s disease. This means that brushing and flossing regularly may prevent the likelihood that you get Alzheimer’s due to gum bacteria spreading and entering the bloodstream.
Another way to ensure this doesn’t happen is by making regular dental appointments. Communicate with your dentist regarding your oral care. Dentists will be able to take measures to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. One such way is to get regular teeth cleanings. Periodontal cleaning will remove the plaque and bacteria found under your gum line that your daily brushing and flossing can’t reach.
At Residential Plaza we work hand in hand with the families and professionals in our community to educate and treat our residents accordingly. For more information, you can visit: www.residentialplaza.com and www.dentably.com