Dementia and Dental Health

Gum disease bacteria in the brain – that seems to be part of the link between dementia and dental health.

Researchers in the UK looked at donated brain samples of 20 people. Ten of the samples were from people with dementia and ten were from people who did not. The researchers found the oral bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis in the brains of four of the dementia group. Although past studies had also linked gum disease and dementia, this was the first study to locate this bacteria in the brain.

The researchers believe this bacteria may play a role in changes to the brain in Alzheimer’s disease. “The future of the research aims to discover if P. gingivalis can be used as a marker, via a simple blood test, to predict the development of Alzheimer’s disease in at-risk patients,” said Dr. Sim Singhrao.

Keeping oral bacteria under control is a matter of brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist regularly. How about those people who are really, really good about brushing and they floss every single day – do they need dental hygiene visits? The answer is yes. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste cleans the surfaces of the teeth that we can see. Flossing cleans the bits in-between teeth that the brush can’t reach. Only your dental hygienist can clean out the bacteria that is living below your gum line.

Not only will sparkly, clean teeth protect your brain, good oral hygiene helps your heart and helps prevent many other systemic illnesses.

Has it been a while since your last dental cleaning? Don’t worry, we can get you, and your smile, back in the routine of regular dental visits. Just contact Asheville cosmetic dentist Dr. John Highsmith today at 828-627-9282 to schedule an appointment.

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Posted in: Oral Health, Periodontal Disease

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