Alzheimer's Disease & Your Gum Health
After decades of disappointment, we may have a new lead on fighting Alzheimer’s disease. Compelling evidence that the condition is caused by a bacterium involved in gum disease could prove a game-changer in tackling one of medicine’s biggest mysteries, and lead to effective treatments or even a vaccine.
As populations have aged, dementia has skyrocketed to become the fifth biggest cause of death worldwide. Alzheimer’s constitutes some 70 per cent of these cases, yet we don’t know what causes it. The condition, which results in progressive loss of memory and cognitive function, usually over a decade or so, is devastating both to those who have it and to their loved ones.
Multiple teams have been researching P. gingivalis, the main bacterium involved in gum disease, which is a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s. So far, teams have found that P. gingivalis invades and inflames brain regions affected by Alzheimer’s.
This inflammation of gum disease can lead to chronic periodontitis and tooth loss. The inflammation and toxins caused by P. gingivalis damage the lining of your mouth, which may make it possible for oral bacteria to enter the bloodstream and then other organs. Even if you don’t have gum disease, transient damage to your mouth lining from eating or tooth-brushing can let mouth bacteria into your blood.
This further gives us reasons as to why cleanings every 4 months are crucial.