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The Relationship Between Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s

April 19, 2021

Gum disease, also referred to as periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues in the mouth that hold your teeth into place. Even though poor oral hygiene is the most common reason that people develop this issue, there are also numerous other conditions in the body that can contribute. One of them is Alzheimer’s. Continue reading to learn more about the relationship between Alzheimer’s and gum disease in Anthem.

How Are Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s Related?

There are multiple different stages of gum disease. The first and least severe one is known as gingivitis. This condition is very common and affects about half of Americans over the age of 30. The good news is that at this point, the effects are usually reversible, and it is possible to return back to optimal oral health. However, when left to progress, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis. At this time, subgingival pockets develop between the teeth and gums. These spaces then fill up with bacteria and become nearly impossible to eliminate completely.

There is a certain type of bacteria that is found in periodontitis that is also present in the brains of people who are suffering from Alzheimer’s. This bacteria are known as Porphyromonas gingivalis. An American pharmaceutical company, Cortexyme, did a test on mice in order to show how these bacteria spread to the brain and result in the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

How Can You Prevent Gum Disease?

Gum disease is common, but very easy to prevent. Here are some steps you can take to prevent it:

  • Brush twice a day: Brush two times each day to remove food particles and plaque from your teeth.
  • Floss daily: Your toothbrush cannot reach all areas of your mouth. You need to use dental floss to remove food debris from beneath the gumline and between the teeth.
  • Rinse with mouthwash: Using a mouth rinse can help to wash away remaining food particles that you missed while brushing and flossing.
  • Visit your dentist: Seeing your dentist on a regular basis is necessary for good oral health. During your professional cleaning, your dental hygienist will remove plaque, tartar, and calculus buildups, and your dentist will be able to detect early signs of periodontal disease so it can be treated with gum disease treatment in Anthem before progressing to periodontitis.
  • Understand your risk: Many different factors can contribute to the onset of gum disease including your age, smoking habits, diet, and genetics. If you are high risk, you should discuss your concerns with your dentist.

Periodontal disease can contribute to many other conditions throughout the body. With proper oral hygiene, you can keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy.

About the Author

Dr. Connor Stevenson earned his dental degree from the Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine in Arizona. Currently, he is a proud member of the American Dental Association and Arizona Dental Association. If you have been struggling with gum disease, he would be happy to help. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (623) 246-4741.