What we know about the link between gum disease & dementia | TahoeDailyTribune.com

What we know about the link between gum disease & dementia

John Bocchi

Each November, we recognize the 5 million Americans struggling with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers.

While there's still a lot of research to be done, there's been many scientific studies devoted to finding a possible connection between gum (or periodontal) disease and dementia.

Sierra Smiles Tahoe always shares the importance of maintaining excellent oral hygiene with our patients. It ensures your mouth is free from harmful gum disease and bacteria. Not only for your mouth's sake but for your whole health.

Reminder: Always make sure dementia patients are receiving proper oral health care. They're at an increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay due to a decline in personal hygiene and possible medication side effects.

What Research Tells Us

According to a Journal of Alzheimer's Disease article, people with poor oral hygiene or elevated gum disease could possibly be at risk of developing dementia. One study took samples of brain tissue from patients with dementia, along with tissue samples from patients without dementia. What interested scientists was: dementia patient tissue had gum disease bacteria, but non-dementia tissue did not.

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Reminder: More research needs to be conducted to understand this potential link. As of this year, there's still no definitive proof that gum disease causes dementia.

Blame the Bacteria

The connection between gum disease and dementia (along with other illnesses like diabetes and heart disease) is due to bacteria. Our mouths are full of bacterial combinations — some good, some bad. Bad bacteria ends up in our bloodstream by eating, chewing and brushing.

As we continue to see what happens with the gum disease and dementia correlation, our Tahoe dental office reminds patients to keep brushing, flossing and seeing us for cleanings!

Healthy Tahoe is a look at health-related topics that shape our community and is made possible through content provided by our sponsors.

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