Is there a relationship between periodontal (gum) disease and Alzheimer’s disease?
Researchers at Tufts University have been studying the link between our oral health and our brain health. They conducted research on mice and the teams’ results suggest that left untreated, periodontal disease caused by fusobacterium nucleatum (a periodontal pathogen), could worsen symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
As reported in Tufts Now, “the F. nucleatum results in an abnormal proliferation of microglial cells, which are immune cells in the brain that normally remove damaged neurons and infections and help maintain the overall health of the central nervous system. This over-supply of microglial cells also created an increased inflammatory response. Chronic inflammation or infection is believed to be a key determinant in the cognitive decline that occurs as Alzheimer’s disease progresses.”
Keeping Your Mouth —and Brain— Healthy
Good oral hygiene includes brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day, seeing your regular dentist twice a year for checkups and cleanings, avoiding tobacco and eating a balanced diet. If you have irritated gums and have been diagnosed with gingivitis, the earliest stage of periodontal disease, we can address the gum disease with regular, special periodontal cleanings.
Gum disease is a gradual, chronic disease. It’s manageable if the condition is not left to progress unhindered. We can clean pockets around your teeth and prevent bone damage. Regular cleanings, along with the topical or use of antibiotics in some instances as well as other procedures including laser therapies, may be warranted.
Your mouth is the gateway to your body, with gum disease inflammation linked not just to dementia but to numerous other systemic diseases and issues. At the Pennsylvania Center for Dental Implants and Periodontics, we treat gum disease and offer numerous options for dental implants designed to last a lifetime.