Can gum disease be the cause of Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s disease – A type of dementia that causes progressive memory loss.
Gum disease – An infection that damages the gums, eventually leading to loss of teeth.
Can the bacteria that causes gum disease also be responsible for Alzheimer’s?
There are tons of people who ask – Can gum disease be the cause of Alzheimer’s? Here is the answer:
A new study (published by Science Advances) discovered that people having poor oral or dental hygiene may be at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers observed the brain tissue of deceased people with Alzheimer’s. They identified a bacteria called Porphyromonas Gingivalis. (Gingivalis is an aetiological agent in the development of chronic periodontitis.). This was one of the main pathogens responsible for gum disease. The study also revealed that the bacteria’s DNA was present in the spinal fluid of Alzheimer’s patients.
Another study identified protein-degrading enzymes called gingipains in the brain samples of Alzheimer’s patients. The brains infected with these toxic enzymes had proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease. These substances are known as tau and ubiquitin.
This research team also conducted another experiment. They infected the gums of mice with the bacteria P. Gingivalis. The results of the experiment showed that the bacteria were later seen in the brains of mice. The bacteria caused damage to neurons. It increased the levels of a protein called beta-amyloid in the mice brain tissue. These proteins form clusters of plaque in the brains of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
The team succeeded in removing the infection from the brains of the animals, as the bacterium relied on the enzymes for gathering nutrients and producing energy. The team used a molecule to bind and block the gingipains, decreasing the production of beta-amyloid in the brain. Researchers proposed this as a possible treatment.
Although there is sufficient evidence on linking gum disease with Alzheimer’s, we don’t necessarily think this one infectious agent can be the underlying cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a complex disease. There are many factors involved – like age, gender, hereditary, etc. and the disease develops over 12 to 20 years.
Warning Signs Of Alzheimer’s
- Memory loss
- Taking longer to complete everyday tasks
- Trouble handling money
- Misplacing things
- Mood changes
- Increased anxiety and/or aggression
How to avoid gum disease?
– Brush your teeth at least 2-3 mins, twice a day
– Be sure to floss your teeth as this helps eliminate plaque from hard to reach areas.
– Avoid starchy and sugary food as they are known to increase plaque on your teeth.
– Maintain a healthy diet that contains nutrients (vitamins A and C, in particular) because it helps prevent gum disease.
– Avoid smoking and tobacco as it may contribute to gum disease and oral cancer.
Symptoms of gum disease
– Bleeding gums – while brushing or flossing
– Receding gums that causes the teeth to look longer
– Persistent Bad Breath
– Mouth Sores
– Loose teeth
– Pus in the gums
Individuals who are having issues with their gums should treat them at the earliest because all of these things point to the effects of gum disease on overall health, and not only Alzheimer’s.
Though brushing will help you keep away from plaque, only a dentist has the tools to remove tartar and assist in advance levels of oral health maintenance. At Dental Solutions, our experts have the experience to meet all your oral health care needs. We maintain the highest quality of dental care through the latest techniques and equipment. Book us today for a flawless smile!