Poor Dental Hygiene May Lead to Alzheimer’s Disease
It has been well documented that poor dental hygiene can lead to health risks, such as heart disease in men and women and contribute to erectile dysfunction in men. Now, researchers at University of Central Lancashire in the UK and New York University in the US, have found a possible link between the bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis and Alzheimer’s Disease.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s Disease is a devastating progressive degenerative condition that leads to dementia and memory loss. It usually begins slowly, with the patient showing mild symptoms of memory loss, but over time the condition worsens to the point the patient is unable to carry on normal conversations, respond to their environment properly and function normally, and is the 6th leading cause of death. In most people with Alzheimer’s, the condition begins to develop in people in their mid 60s, but may show signs as early as in their mid 40’s or 50’s. Regardless of when it starts, Alzheimer’s Disease is not a normal part of aging.
How Poor Dental Hygiene May Lead to Alzheimer’s Disease?
Poor oral hygiene leads to gingivitis, a common oral condition that causes red, swollen and often bleeding gums, caused by the build up of bacteria, plaque and tartar on the gums and teeth of people who do not brush and floss their teeth on a daily basis. Gingivitis causes small gaps to form between the teeth and gum lining that allows bacteria to enter the body, tooth loss. As the bacteria travels through the bloodstream, it can take hold along the walls of the arteries and lead to plaque build up that restricts blood flow and may over time lead to significant health conditions, such as heart disease. Heat disease can leads to other conditions, including Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, heart attack and stroke.
Researchers at University of Central Lancashire working in conjunction with researchers at New York University, have found signs of the Porphyromonas gingivalis bacteria, usually only found in the mouths of people with poor oral hygiene, in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. In the study, 10 brains from patients who died from Alzheimer’s Disease were compared to patients who donated their organs for scientific research and did not have Alzheimer’s Disease. Researchers found presence of the Porphyromonas gingivalis bacteria in 4 out of 10 Alzheimer’s patients, while none of the healthy brains showed any indication of the Porphyromonas gingivalis bacteria. The belief is that bleeding gums and small gaps between teeth and gum lines is giving Porphyromonas gingivalis a perfect opportunity to enter the body and travel to the blood stream where it gets a free ride in blood travels to the brain.
The bacteria itself does not lead to Alzheimer’s, but rather the presence of the bacteria triggers an immune response to fight the bacteria and the release of excess chemicals in the brain kills neurons. The researchers believe that this activity can lead to symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease, such as confusion and deteriorating memory.
How to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
The best way to prevent the onset of confusion and deteriorating memory from this bacteria is to practice good oral hygiene, such as brushing your teeth daily and flossing regularly to prevent the build up of gingivitis, plaque and tartar on teeth and gums and thus, not giving these bacteria an avenue to enter the body and create havoc on the organs and body systems.