Could gum disease be a cause of Alzheimer’s?

Oral hygiene may be even more important than you thought


Scientists believe they may have discovered a link between bacteria that is common in gum disease and people with dementia. The researchers say they are hopeful that their findings could pave the way to new methods of tackling the illness, which at the moment has no effective treatment. That however, may all be in the future… what it does confirm to us though is that everyone should take oral hygiene and preventative dentistry procedures very seriously.


The research, which seems to be in the very early stages, has found that bacteria associated with chronic gum disease, Porphyromonas gingivalis, is also found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. They also identified that the bacteria also increased the production of amyloid beta, a component of the amyloid plaques commonly associated with Alzheimer’s.


So just how significant are these new findings?


Alzheimer’s Research UK stated that the presence of a single type of bacteria was “extremely unlikely to be the only cause of the condition”.


However, a professor based at the University of Exeter said, “the study suggested oral hygiene should be a much higher public health priority, especially for older people”.


Yes, while we fully support that statement, as a leading UK dental practice we would go much further. Good oral hygiene is not just a priority for older people… it applies to everyone from the very earliest age.


Our preventative dentistry recommendations, which include oral hygiene and cleaning advice, are fully focused on helping patients avoid dental problems of all descriptions. These include not only gum disease, but also tooth decay, bad breath and mouth cancer. Therefore effective oral hygiene procedures, including twice daily teeth cleaning and regular examinations by your dentist are absolutely vital.


Our recommendation therefore is that you should clean your teeth – using a medium bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste – twice a day. Clean them as soon as you get up in the morning and again last thing at night. Our cleaning advice is that you should spend two minutes every time you clean your teeth and you should also regularly floss to clean between your teeth.


Equally important, in our opinion, you should also have regular dental examinations so that your dentist can keep a close eye on the condition of your teeth and gums. If they do spot a potential problem they will be able to treat it before it becomes a major (and often painful) issue.


So whether gum disease is a cause of Alzheimer’s or not we cannot stress enough the importance of oral hygiene. If you would like to make an appointment to arrange a dental examination please do not hesitate to contact us. You can call us on 0161 951 7295 or alternatively you can contact us by using the online form on our Appointments page.

Oral Hygiene

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