September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and the main date of focus each year is September 21st which is World Alzheimer’s Day. These campaigns are arranged annually to raise awareness and challenge stigmas surrounding Alzheimer’s related dementia.
You can find out more about these campaigns by going to https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-involved/world-alzheimers-month
What we would specifically like to discuss is the link between poor oral health and a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
David has written on this topic in the past and outlined research which suggested that keeping our gums healthy may also help to avoid Alzheimer’s. Our previous article was relating to researchers from Chung Shan Medical University and the National Defense Medical Center, both in Taiwan, who had completed a study showing a link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s. Since then, numerous other research papers have been released, all with the same conclusion.
The original research led to findings that people aged over 50 who had a 10 year or longer history of periodontitis have a 70% increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s than people without chronic periodontitis (advanced gum diseases).
The link between long-term periodontitis and Alzheimer’s was present even after researchers adjusted for other factors that might influence the development of Alzheimer’s, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and urban environment. Gum disease can lead on to all manner of unpleasant outcomes, including tooth loss, abscesses, bleeding gums and bad breath. With these findings linking gum disease to Alzheimer’s, there is even more reason to make sure you are taking proper care of your oral health and visiting us for regular routine examinations.
Research published since David’s original article states that one of the key bacteria that cause gum disease – Porphyromonas gingivalis – may also be the root cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers are working on a vaccine and a specific anti-toxin for P. gingivalis, but these are some years away from being launched.
Until then, our best advice is to keep your mouth healthy and follow the advice we regularly post including:
- Consume less sugar
- If you smoke, try to stop
- Brush your teeth gently, twice a day, for at least 2 minutes.
- Use dental floss and/or interdental brushes as advised
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Drink lots of water
- Attend routine dental health checks here at the practice
If you have any specific concerns, please ask Annette or Maryam at your next hygiene appointment or David at your next dental health check.