Periodontal Disease’s Potential Affect On Alzheimer’s Disease

Scientists have made great strides in understanding Alzheimer’s Disease in recent years.  However, the disease remains notoriously difficult to identify in its early stages, and even more difficult to treat once it has taken hold.  A growing body of evidence suggests that periodontal diseases such as Gingivitis may play a roll in the development of AD.  If this connection could be better understood, it may very well lead to a major breakthrough.  Read on to learn what the latest research suggests.

 

 It is widely believed that inflammation of the brain and central nervous system are to blame for many of the symptoms associated with AD1.  Periodontal diseases are known to create a state where inflammatory proteins such as C-reactive proteins can thrive.

The connection between periodontal disease and AD seems to be strong, although further strides are needed before it can be conclusively proven.  There is hope that improved dental health may become a key part of preventative strategies, especially given that AD mostly affects the elderly, who are more likely to lack good oral health care practices.

In a recent study, the National Institute on Aging conducted a study amongst people aged 65 or older, hoping to find a correlation between Gingivitis and Dementia.  The study found that patients who experienced some level of gum disease were more likely to develop dementia later in life2.  The authors of the study emphasize that their findings need further research, but the overall connection between the two conditions seems to be strong.

Elderly patients should always exercise proper oral healthcare, regardless of their mental state.  The benefits may be more important to longterm health than previously realized.

 

References

  1. Kamer, Angela, et al. “Inflammation and Alzheimer’s Disease: Possible Role of Periodontal Diseases.” Alzheimer’s Association, 21 Dec. 2007, https://alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1016/j.jalz.2007.08.004.
  2. NIA Intramural Research Program. “Large Study Links Gum Disease with Dementia.” National Institute on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, July 09, 2020 https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/large-study-links-gum-disease-dementia.

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