Are Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s Connected?
The existence of a link between gum disease and dementia was a recent scientific finding. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) conducted a study that revealed this connection.
What Is the Cause of Gum Disease?
While a person’s mouth is typically full of bacteria, there is a particular type of bacteria that causes gum disease. Symptoms of gum disease include infection, bleeding, inflamed gums, loose teeth and even tooth loss.
Study of the Bacteria that Causes Gum Disease
Studies have found that the bacteria and molecules produced from mouth infections can travel into the bloodstream and into the brain. Earlier lab studies suggested this was the cause of dementia. However, larger studies are necessary to confirm this theory. Even so, a recent study based on statistics revealed a significant finding.
Details of the NIA Study Discovering the Link Between Gum Disease and Dementia
The NIA used publicly available data taken from a population study done by the CDC.
They researched different age groups that had 26 years of follow-up. In addition, they evaluated more than 6,000 participants’ data. The participants had received blood tests to determine whether they had developed antibodies against the gum disease producing bacteria. Of all the bacteria studied, the one that causes gum disease stood out.
As a result of the study, scientists believed that Alzheimer’s disease could result from the infection caused by this bacteria. Other types of dementia could develop as well.
Older adults with gum disease symptoms and mouth infections were more apt to develop Alzheimer’s. This fact emerged during the study. In addition, Alzheimer’s patients 65 and older had the antibodies resulting from gum disease. This was also true of participants who had died from Alzheimer’s.
See your dentist about preventing or treating gum disease