The strongest proof till date is that the poor dental hygiene is linked to the brain tissue degeneration and this has emerged from a recent study conducted at the University of Florida Dental College. Although the cardiologists have long known that the bacteria causing gingivitis or gum disease may enter the blood stream adding to the heart issues, there have been very few studies that showed relation of Alzheimer’s or other dementia to the oral health.
In the latest study, the researchers have examined the samples from the brains of patients with and without dementia. As per the results, it showed that the Lipopolysaccharide, a component of Porphyromonas gingivalis, an oral bacteria was found in four out of 10 Alzheimer’s disease brain samples that were examined. However, this bacteria wasn’t found in any samples from the brains of the people who didn’t have the Alzheimer’s disease. It clearly shows that there is some link between the oral bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease but not the causal association.
The oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream during chewing or while brushing and flossing. The dental procedures may also release the bacteria that may then travel to the brain. According to the researchers, the bacteria found in the brain may trigger the immune system responses and the pathological changes that could lead to the brain disease such as the Alzheimer’s disease. However, they are not yet ready to say that the effect is a certain cause of AD but the evidence is mouting that there is definite a link.
The research was led by the senior author St. John Crean, the dean at College of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Central Lancashire. It is the first study showing the link between the poor dental hygiene and brain tissue degeneration. This study follows the work done at UF on the mice that was infected with four major periodontal pathogens where the researchers have found that the oral bacterium has moved to the brain in the mice as well hence confirming the research on humans.
The next step for the University of Florida researchers is to study the causal relation between the major periodontal bacteria and the Alzheimer’s disease in the mouse models.
Take care of your teeth and gums
Gingivitis is common disease. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 64% of seniors aged 65 and above have moderate to severe periodontal disease. Hence, we recommend that people should brush thoroughly twice a day, floss regularly and get their teeth professionally cleaned on a schedule deemed appropriately by their dentist.
Whether or not a link to the oral health and the Alzheimer’s disease ben proven eventually beyond any doubt, as it is well known that the bacteria is found in diseased gums can cause other health problems. Therefore, a good oral hygiene is necessary for the overall health. Considering that the Alzheimer’s disease is thought to start decades before the symptoms appear, it would behove the young and the middle aged adults to be scrupulous about their own oral health. This is not a high price to pay as it ensures that we have take one more step which will prevent the development of dementia in the older years.
The brain disease costs around the US both money and lives as 1 in 3 senior citizen dies from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it is projected that this will cost around $203 a year. Right now as per the World Health Organization, around 36 million people are affected with AD globally and may go up in the year 2050.