The majority of adults over 30 are afflicted with some type of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, which often goes undiagnosed. Your mouth is full of bacteria that can create the environment for chronic oral infection, the leading cause of complications within your mouth and the rest of your body. Recent studies have begun to define the link between periodontal disease and an increased risk of many diseases including Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease, a memory-robbing disorder, affects one in ten people in North America ages 65 and older and one in three of those ages 85 and up. Taking good care of your mouth and visiting your dentist regularly are simple ways to avoid increasing your likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease and even other forms of dementia.
Understanding the Link Between Gum Disease and Memory Loss
A recent study of more than 6,000 patients reported that those with signs of gum disease and oral infections developed Alzheimer’s disease at a higher rate than those with good oral health.
The researchers reported that among people ages 65 and older, those with periodontal disease were at the greatest risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dying from it. It was also discovered that bad bacteria can combine to work together, creating an even more dangerous situation in your mouth if left unchecked.
How Can Oral Bacteria Harm Memory?
Recently, researchers discovered that certain types of bacteria found in your mouth destroy brain neurons and may contribute to the development of plaque in your brain. It’s believed that the accumulation of this sticky compound in the brain is the primary cause of Alzheimer’s, with the buildup initially disrupting communication between neurons and ultimately killing them.
There is strong evidence to support that periodontal disease can impact the development of Alzheimer’s disease, highlighting how crucial it is to manage periodontal disease, especially in older adults or individuals who have increased risk for dementia.
What’s the Best Way to Keep Gum Disease in Check?
To find out if you have gum disease, visit your dentist for regular examinations to check for signs of oral infection.
Treatments for periodontal disease can consist of a daily program of oral care to follow at home, prescription mouthwashes, dental trays with antibacterial gel, and in some cases, a short course of antibiotics. Be sure to follow up with your dentist after your treatment is complete to ensure the infection has been fully treated.
Oral Care at Home Helps Keep Your Mouth Healthy
One of the simplest and most effective keys to a long life and lower risk for chronic diseases is combining regular dental checkups with excellent self-care, including daily brushing and flossing.
If you smoke, quit. Smoking is a leading risk factor for developing gum disease.
We also advise these measures to optimize your oral health:
- Brush and floss twice a day. People who never floss have been shown to have a 30 percent higher death rate than those who floss daily!
- Always brush before bed. Never brushing at night raises mortality risk by 25 percent vs. nightly brushing. Since your mouth produces less saliva to wash your teeth and gums when you’re sleeping, it’s particularly crucial to floss and brush thoroughly before bed.
- Get a dental cleaning every 4-6 months, or as advised by your dentist.
It has been found that people who haven’t gone to a dentist in the past year had a 50 percent higher mortality rate than those who went two or more times annually. Good oral health promotes longevity by helping people avoid chronic diseases sparked by infections in the mouth.
For more information, read this article published by BaleDoneen.