Did you know that your oral health not only impacts your teeth, tongue, and gums but can affect your overall health? Medical researchers have found links between your oral health and acne, heart disease, and other conditions. Today, we want to talk about a recent study that suggests that gum disease may increase your risk for Alzheimer’s.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is the infection of the soft tissue of your gums. Gum disease has two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis. It typically is caused by poor oral hygiene that leads to the buildup of bacterial plaque and tartar that irritate gums and cause them to recede and eventually become infected. Not only is gum disease the number one cause of tooth loss in adults, but it has also been linked to serious medical conditions like Alzheimer’s.
The Link Between Gum Disease & Alzheimer’s
In a recent study, scientists found one of the pathogens that cause gum disease in the brains of deceased people who had Alzheimer’s. They also found this pathogen in the spinal fluid of living people with Alzheimer’s. Nonetheless, the results of the study are not conclusive. After all, Alzheimer’s is a disease that develops over 15 to 20 years that is influenced by factors like age, gender, and genetic predisposition.
The Takeaway (and the Good News!)
It’s still too soon to say whether gum disease is one of the factors that can increase your risk for developing Alzheimer’s. However, we can confidently say that gum disease has many other serious side effects that you’ll want to avoid. The good news is that Dr. Miller can treat gum disease and even reverse it if detected early — and in some cases, good oral hygiene can eliminate your risk for gum disease.