You may have seen news reports fairly recently linking Alzheimer’s disease to gum disease, and obviously this is something that can be extremely concerning. A lot of research is being carried out into how gum disease is related to other health issues, and while there is definitely a link, it’s often not clear as to exactly what this is, and exactly what the risk is. This latest study focused on just 20 people, and the results showed that a bacterium associated with gum disease was found in the brain tissue of 4 out of 10 people with Alzheimer’s who had recently died. The hypothesis is that these bacteria could have played an inflammatory role in the existence of Alzheimer’s. Although the results are intriguing they are by no means conclusive, and the small sample size means the bacterium could have been there by pure coincidence. Much more research is required using a much larger sample size.
Alzheimer’s is a common form of dementia, and other studies have linked dementia with gum disease. Gum disease is a bacterial infection that causes the gums to begin pulling away from the teeth, as the body tries to fight back. The body’s immunological response causes the gums become inflamed, and can eventually end up destroying the gums and the supporting tissues, including the bone around the teeth. One of the problems with gum disease is that it creates openings in the mouth so bacteria can enter the bloodstream. They’ll then be able to travel around to other parts of the body creating similar sites of inflammation.
In the past gum disease has been linked not only to dementia, but also other conditions such as diabetes and renal disease. The researchers carried out this latest study as they wanted to see whether gum disease could be linked to Alzheimer’s, based on the results of previous research.
So What Does This All Mean for Patients of Leeds City Dentalcare?
Even though the link may not be definitive, there’s still no room for complacency when taking care of your teeth and gums. We know we might talk a lot about preventative dental care, but it really is so important. Quite a few people are still unaware of the link between a healthy mouth and a healthy body, whatever this connection might be. Even if you think you have a good daily oral hygiene routine, it is all too easy to miss areas of your mouth. Small problems may be developing that cannot be detected simply by looking in your bathroom mirror.
Regular dental check-ups help to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy, so that you can always enjoy the benefits of having a nice smile. In addition you’ll save yourself money in the longer term, as it’s much cheaper to treat problems in the early stages than to leave them to develop into something more complicated. Having a small filling now could help prevent root canal treatment in the future, and could mean that tooth will not require crowning. Picking up on early signs of gum disease means you teeth will last a lot longer, hopefully for your lifetime.
While we are able to offer various means of tooth replacement, we’d much rather help yours last longer. If you haven’t been to see us for a while, why not pick up the phone and make an appointment to see Dr David Brown or another of our dentist in Leeds.