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The one very difficult thing for most of us to accept is when our loved ones cannot remember who we are.  Watching them get to a point of not being able to do normal everyday things like put themselves a plate of food to eat or even just walk to the bathroom of the home they have lived in for most of their lives.  Alzheimer’s affects more than 6 million Americans of all ages. An estimated 6.7 million Americans over the age of 65 years and older are living with Alzheimer’s in 2023.  Now why am talking about periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s. 

Let me explain.  For many years now the biggest issue we as dentists have; is trying to explain to our patients is that their mouth and teeth are not a separate entity from their body.  It all starts in your mouth.  The mouth can contain over 700 species of bacteria that can cause gingivitis and lead to periodontal disease.  Now what is the difference between the two.  Gingivitis is when you have inflammation of your gums.  Periodontal disease is when not only your gums are inflamed, but when you start having deterioration of the bone around your teeth.  So, you may not have a cavity or a broken tooth, but you can still lose teeth when you have periodontal disease.  So why should you care about your gum health.  Simply put because this does not only affect your teeth, but it also affects your overall health.  Constant inflammation of your gums has been proven over the years to be linked to many medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, colorectal cancer, lung and even breast cancer.

Now let’s discuss bacteria that have been found in periodontal disease. The two main ones of concern are Porphyromonas gingivalis and Fusobacterium nucleatum.

Porphylomonas gingivalis and its toxins have now been detected in autopsy brain tissues from patients with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Fusobacterium nucleatum results in 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, the researchers found. Chronic inflammation or infection is believed to be a key determinant in the cognitive decline that occurs as Alzheimer’s disease progresses.

So now you know some facts about these bacteria.  But what does it all mean?  Well now more than ever your regular home care and seeing the dentist for dental cleanings is even more important than ever before.

The conditions of periodontal disease (bacterial infection and chronic inflammation) weaken the blood-brain barrier and pose a risk for cerebrovascular disease. The conditions also cause inflammation in the brain. Therefore, periodontal care is essential for Alzheimer’s and Dementia control. Although it is important to treat periodontitis for the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease, it is also necessary to take measures against bacteremia by invasive treatment such as scaling and root planning in the future.  And this is all assessed when you see your dentist for routine check-ups and if recommended 3 months dental cleaning regularly.

You will find links below showing multiple studies of these findings.

Take care of your Oral health to keep a healthy mind for yourself and your loved ones.,cancer%2C%20followed%20by%20colorectal%20cancer.,must%20break%20through%20the%20BBB.,be%20connected%20to%20Alzheimer’s%20disease.

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