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Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease

Jun 26, 2023 | Diabetes, General wellbeing, Older Persons, Oral Health, Oral Systemic Link

Nicole Bolinger

Nicole Bolinger

Recent research has found a relationship between bacteria in patients with uncontrolled gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Interestingly, both Oral Health Month and National Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month are in June.

June is National Oral Health Month.

Oral health is important for anyone with a mouth. Those with teeth can get cavities that contain many bacteria that can infect other teeth, including those of their children and partners. Those with no teeth can still get oral infections and also have difficulty eating and talking. See your dentist or have an independent practicing dental hygienist visit your loved one to make sure their oral health is at its best.

June is also National Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month!

A wonderful long-term study has been going on for many years. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey or NHANES, has been following the health of Americans of all ages since the 1960s. Since they have been following people for so long, they have been able to study those who have developed dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. They looked at these folk’s health similarities and differences in the preceding years. 

gum disease & alzheimer's disease

It was found that those with deeper periodontal pockets, which is one way we measure gum disease, and large numbers of the bacteria that cause gum disease, had a greater chance of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. 

I am not making a leap that if you have gum disease you will develop dementia, but I want to be clear that the experts are discovering that there is a relation between poor oral health and dementia. Even I am not terribly concerned about how this happens. I am excited to begin to see that if I can keep my gums healthy, I will reduce my risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s, or another form of dementia. 

The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is true. It is true in many instances. Wearing a seatbelt can save your life in a crash. Brushing your teeth, cleaning in between regularly, and seeing your dental hygienist regularly can reduce your risk of dementia. 

We’d love to talk about this more! Contact us anytime!

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