29 Feb Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s
At Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, we are serious about oral health—not just when problems arise, though. We are especially concerned about oral disease prevention, whether it’s dental caries or gum disease, or something worse. Good overall health begins in the mouth with diet and hygiene.
The oral ecosystem can both build up or break down your physical well being. Different strains of bacteria compete for dominance in your mouth. When they are in balance, your gums are healthy. But when certain strains become dominant, usually from lack of proper hygiene, gum disease can result.
One of the earliest signs of gum disease is redness and swelling—these indicate inflammation. Inflammation is the result of your immune system fighting bacteria. In your mouth, it’s your gums that are most vulnerable. They harbor bacteria-laden plaque, and that’s what triggers your immune system to go to war. When white blood cells attack the disease-causing bacteria, they also cause damage to the gum tissue.
When gum disease is left untreated, not only is tooth loss likely, but other diseases have a better chance of developing due to a compromised immune system. Links have long been established between gum disease and serious degenerative effects. For instance, studies have shown that people with periodontal disease have a much higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and pregnancy complications. There is not a direct cause-and-effect relationship, but all of these diseases are associated with inflammation.
Most recently, studies have shown a link between gingivitis (gum disease) and Alzheimer’s. A species of bacteria called Porphyromonas gingivalis can travel from the mouth to the brain. In the brain, they release enzymes that attack nerve cells. This can lead to memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s. The next step for medical science is to develop a drug that can block the destructive enzymes. But there are things we can all do for the prevention of gingivitis.
- Brush and Floss: Brush twice a day and floss before going to bed. This will help to prevent plaque and tartar buildup.
- Eat healthy: A balanced diet that is rich in fresh food will keep your body nourished and strong. Vegetables, fruit, nuts and legumes all provide essential vitamins and minerals. Fish with an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids will fight inflammation while providing protein.
- Regular dental checkups and cleanings: Regular professional cleaning will keep tartar from becoming a problem, keeping your gums healthy. Twice yearly checkups will reveal any tooth or gum disease before they can cause significant damage.
Give us a Call
Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert is committed to your health. We are serious about oral disease prevention. Call us today to schedule your next cleaning and checkup. We have convenient appointment times and flexible payment plans. We even have an in-house savings plan for those who don’t have dental insurance. The cost of the VIP PLAN is $150 per person per year; to add a dependent under the age of 15 is $75. This plan entitles you to two routine cleanings, X-rays and two exams per year at no additional charge. You will also receive up to 30% discount on additional dental services provided by Dr. Norton. As the wise saying goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.