As you age, if you intend on retaining your mental clarity and independence, your dental health may be even more vital than you realize. Recent research out of the University of Southampton and King’s College London has shown a correlation between periodontitis and deteriorated mental health caused by the the inflammatory molecules found in Alzheimer’s patients. Unfortunately, these aren’t groundbreaking findings and this new study only builds on the previous studies linking this debilitating disease with gum disease.
Research teams at the universities along with a dental hygienist assessed the oral health and took blood samples of 59 people. Those people were then evaluated again 6 months later. The findings were staggering. Researchers reported that those who participated in the study that suffered from gum disease had a 6-fold increase in the rate of cognitive decline. Periodontitis is fairly common in elderly people and the problem is often exacerbated with Alzheimer’s patients because brushing and oral care become more difficult. The study also suggests that the inflammatory response our bodies have to gum disease could be the source of the increased cognitive deterioration.
These findings hint that the treatment of gum disease may be a potential treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease. Previous studies have also demonstrated a link between having fewer teeth and developing dementia. The phrase “correlation does not imply causation” applies here, as researchers are still unsure as to whether the gum disease is an effect or a cause of faster decline in dementia patients.
If you or a loved one suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, gum disease, or are just getting older and want to have your gums examined, contact Lifetime Family Dental today. As your trusted Dentist in Gilbert, Dr. Norton will provide you with professional and thorough dental treatment.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (3/25/2016) Moyan Brenn(Flickr)