Few people would think that the health of their mouth has anything to do with the health of their brain. However, more and more research is showing that the two are intimately related. In fact, a healthy mouth actually has a great effect on brain health, namely in the prevention of dementia.
A 2017 study linked periodontal disease to a 70% higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease in people who had the disease for ten or more years. Periodontal disease is a chronic oral infection that causes bone and tooth loss and it affects the majority of adults over 30 years of age. So, chances are you could have it and not know it.
Recent studies have found a link between periodontal disease which causes tooth loss and a decline in cognitive function. According to an article at medicalnewstoday.com, “One study looking at cognitive performance followed 597 men for up to 32 years. The authors conclude that, risk of cognitive decline in older men increases as more teeth are lost. Periodontal disease and cavities, major reasons for tooth loss, are also related to cognitive decline.” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324485#Gums-and-the-brain
Researchers have also linked periodontal disease with an increased buildup of beta-amyloid plaques in the brains. In fact it has been shown that periodontal disease actually boosts the production of the beta-amyloid in the brain, which are the neurological hallmark of Alzheimer’s Disease. Other experiments have also produced evidence that one type of bacteria commonly found in people with periodontal disease is also often found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.
With all the studies that are showing the relationship between oral health and brain health, ask your dental provider to check for the bacterial villains. There are readily available diagnostics tests that measure oral pathogens through DNA analysis. We provide these tests as part of our regular service to our dental patients. Give us a call to find out how you can keep your beautiful smile and keep your wits about you.