Do you find it difficult to believe? Then read on to learn how toothbrushing can help prevent a progressive memory loss condition known as Alzheimer’s disease.

Simply put, Alzheimer’s disease  is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.

There is an increasing body of evidence to indicate gum (periodontal) disease could be a plausible risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Some studies even suggest your risk doubles when gum disease persists for 10 or more years. Indeed, a new US study published in Science Advances details how a type of bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis – or P. gingivalis – associated with gum disease has been found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Tests on mice also showed how the bug spread from their mouth to the brain where it destroyed nerve cells.

So What is the Connection between the Mouth and Brain?

At the University of Central Lancashire, we were the first to make the connection with P. gingivalis and fully diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease.

 Subsequent studies have also found this bacteria – responsible for many forms of gum disease – can migrate from the mouth to the brain in mice. And on entry to the brain, P. gingivalis can reproduce all of the characteristic features of Alzheimer’s disease.

The recent US research which found the bacteria of chronic gum disease in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients gives additional very strong research-based evidence – but it must be interpreted in context. And the fact of the matter is that Alzheimer’s disease is linked with a number of other conditions and not just gum disease.

Brush your teeth

The latest research adds more evidence to the theory gum disease is one of the things that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease. But before you start panic brushing your teeth, it’s important to remember that not everyone who suffers from gum disease develops Alzheimer’s disease, and not all who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease have gum disease.

To find out who is “at risk”, scientists now need to develop tests that can show the dentist who to target. Dental clinicians can then advise those people as to how they can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease through better management of their oral health. But until then, regularly brushing your teeth and maintaining good oral hygeine is recommended.

Originally Published in The Conversation



1 COMMENT

  1. This is a good finding that will also stress the importance of good oral hygiene especially in elderly who are prone to periodontal issues. Further studies still necessary to determine those at risk.

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