Why Alzheimer’s disease puts you at risk of Periodontal Disease
Studies have revealed connections between periodontal disease and many systemic diseases. Recently, a connection was found between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease. The research shows that periodontal health is a primary risk factor for Alzheimer’s development because of the chronic inflammation and infection associated with gum disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, and the sixth leading cause of death among adults (fifth among those aged over 65). It is associated with symptoms such as amnesia and psycho-behavioral disturbances that cause Alzheimer’s patients to have more trouble keeping up with their oral health. In the general American population, studies show that periodontal disease affects a vast majority of adults aged 30 to 90 years, often resulting in irreversible bone loss, or “clinical attachment loss.”
Although more research is needed on the correlation between the two inflammatory systemic diseases, present studies have identified several gram-negative bacteria that cause the aggressive nature of periodontal disease, namely P. gingivalis, T. denticola, and T. forsythia. These bacteria, if present in your mouth, tend to migrate to the brain, where they create a plaque-like substance responsible for neurodegeneration.
Signs of Gum Disease
Signs of gum disease may include:
- Inflammation of the gums – swelling
- Gums turn red and tend to bleed easily
- Gums pulling away from the teeth – receding gums
- Tooth sensitivity
- Teeth become loose
- Painful chewing
- Persistent bad breath
When gums start to pull away from the teeth in advanced gum disease, the spaces or pockets created fill with bacteria and become infected. The bacterial toxins, combined with your body’s natural response to infection, begin to breakdown the underlying bone and connective tissue supporting teeth in place. If the condition is not treated, the gums, bones, and tissues that hold your teeth are destroyed, causing the teeth to become sensitive, loose, and cause pain. Eventually, they may need to be removed.
Treating gum disease
To prevent the adverse effects of periodontal disease for Alzheimer’s patients, your dentist may recommend treatments like deep cleaning, medications, and flap surgery, depending on the stage of gum disease, in addition to measures that help you gain control of the infection, like proper daily oral care at home and lifestyle changes, such as giving up smoking, in order to improve the outcome of your treatment.
Please schedule a consultation with Dr. Pasco in Wexford, PA to discuss more about how to maintain healthy gums when dealing with Alzheimer’s.
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125 Towne Centre Drive, Suite 510
Wexford, PA 15090
Phone: (724) 719 2866
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