The Lethal Cost of Gum Disease

gum disease and alzheimer'sIf you’re like most people, you look at your teeth as a cosmetic value. Sure, your teeth have a lot of important functions, like eating and talking.

But, for the most part, people care more about their smiles being beautiful and attractive. Taking care of your teeth can help your health in the future.

Tooth decay, gum disease, and overall poor dental hygiene could lead to illnesses down the road. Today, we’re going to talk to you about a link between dental health diseases and deadly diseases.

Linking Gum Disease to Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease that causes memory loss and makes it hard to function.

Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia, because it causes your memory to fade. It’s not uncommon for people with Alzheimer’s to even forget their own children’s names and faces. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most heartbreaking illnesses to see in a loved one.

Alzheimer’s is one of the most prevalent forms of dementia, making up about 60-80% of all cases. Some people think it’s a normal part of aging, but it’s not. While your risk of getting Alzheimer’s increases with age, it’s not solely a disease for old people. Some people suffer from Alzheimer’s as early as 40 to 50 years old.  

There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, so the best form of treatment is prevention. As it turns out that the disease is linked to dental disease. After collection 20 years of data, a study in 2010 by New York University found a link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s.

The study followed 152 participants between the ages of 50 and 70. They found that patients over the age of 70 with gum disease were more likely to have lower levels of cognitive function.

The study also took other factors into account, like obesity, smoking, and tooth loss from gum disease. They still found a strong link between lower cognitive function and gum disease.

Upon taking a closer look, the researchers found a specific bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis, in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, but it wasn’t in the brains of people without Alzheimer’s. P. gingivalis is also found in patients with chronic gum disease.

The team of researchers found that the reason these bacteria were found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s is that gum disease-causing bacteria have exceptional mobility. They’re able to travel through your nervous system from the roots of your teeth and into your brain. THey’re also able to travel through your blood circulating system the same way.

For patients with gum disease that causes them to bleed, the bacteria can enter your bloodstream every time you floss, brush, or eat foods that cause your mouth to bleed.

When your brain becomes inflamed by bacteria, it destroys the connections in your brain cells, destroying your memory and leading to Alzheimer’s.

Saving Yourself from Alzheimer’s

It’s hard to say whether gum disease causes Alzheimer’s, or Alzheimer’s causes gum disease. After all, a neurodegenerative disease can cause you to forget how to maintain basic hygiene.

However, you can help keep Alzheimer’s disease at bay by taking care of your brain, which means practicing proper hygiene. By ensuring that your teeth and gums are in pristine shape, you can reduce inflammation in your brain.