Researchers are discovering a strong connection between gum disease and dementia. Recent studies found that the plaque associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) may be produced in direct response to gum disease.1
“Over a ten-year period, chronic periodontitis is associated with a 70% increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, similar to the risk from tobacco use or obesity,” says Steven Masley, MD (author of The Better Brain Solution).
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, someone in the United States is diagnosed with AD every 65 seconds, and it kills more people than breast and prostate cancers combined.2 Yet this formidable killer might be fended off with a toothbrush.
The fact that maintaining good oral health can protect against dementia is great news for older adults who are looking for ways to prevent cognitive decline.
For people diagnosed with AD, maintaining oral health can be challenging. In some cases, involving caregivers can help patients stay on top of twice daily brushing, flossing and regular professional care. This is critical because studies have found patients who kept gum disease at bay experienced a slower progression of disease than those who had periodontitis.3
The more researchers learn about the connection between brain health and oral health, the clearer it becomes that patients win when dentists and doctors work together for whole body health. For example, using OralDNA Labs®, Smile Generation-trusted dentists now look for pathogens in patients’ saliva, such as Porphyromonas gingivalis, that may contribute to AD. This will help patients determine whether they are at increased risk of developing the disease.4
Knowing your risk can empower you to take proactive steps to prevent the onset of AD, including seeing a neurologist, exercising, staying socially active, eating a healthy diet – and, of course, taking care of those pearly whites.
Patients win when dentists and doctors work together for whole body health.