alzheimers link to gum disease

Understanding the Gum Disease Link to Alzheimer’s Disease

Maintaining a healthy mouth isn’t just for a great smile. Having healthy gums not only helps you avoid mouth pain and losing teeth, it may also help prevent serious issues that you may never have realized.  

Recent studies show that gum disease is linked to Alzheimer’s Disease because of harmful mouth bacteria.  

Gum Disease & Bacteria

Your mouth houses a mix of good and bad bacteria. While good bacteria is protective and promotes health, bad bacteria promotes inflammation and disease.  Ideally, your mouth should be balanced with more good bacteria.  

Bacterial imbalance occurs when bad bacteria increases while good bacteria decreases. This imbalance is associated with a key biomarker for Alzheimer’s Disease called amyloid-beta. As Alzheimer’s develops, the amyloid-beta protein deposits in the brain.  

When you have gum disease, the pro-inflammatory bacteria in your gums may disrupt the normal clearance of amyloid-beta from the brain. The harmful bacteria associated with amyloid-beta can be found in and around your gums when you have periodontal disease. This means that if you have gum disease or high risk for it, you should take steps to improve your gum health to reduce your risks.  

Reducing Risks of Gum Disease

Once identified, some risks for periodontal disease can be eliminated or modified such as:

  • Stopping use of tobacco products
  • Visiting your dentists regularly for exams and dental cleanings
  • Practicing good oral hygiene such as brushing & flossing twice daily.

While some risk factors can be eliminated, others such as age and genetics cannot, which is why you need help from your dental professional to monitor your gum health. If your dentist detects that you have gum disease, they may refer you to a periodontist to treat your disease and help you regain positive bacterial balance.  

The research into the Alzheimer’s link to gum disease shows that improving gum health may reduce risks because high levels of healthy bacteria in your mouth may be protective against Alzheimer’s Disease.

The Pennsylvania Center for Periodontology is here to help! Please contact our office if you have any questions or concerns.

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