A recent study out of Britain suggests a direct link between Alzheimer’s and Gum Disease. Porphyromonas gingivalis, the bug responsible for unhealthy gums, was found in the brains of the deceased Alzheimer’s patients being studied. It is believed that the bacteria that begins in the gums finds its way into the bloodstream and then, from there, enters the brain. Once in the brain, they trigger an immune response that can lead to the death of neurons.
This can ignite and accelerate changes and symptoms of Alzheimer’s, the main one being memory loss. Scientists at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) studied 10 brain samples from patients who died with dementia. They were compared with the same number of samples from non-dementia sufferers.
A lead researcher on the project, Sim Singharo, announces that “We are working on the theory that when the brain is repeatedly exposed to bacteria and/or their debris from our gums, subsequent immune responses may lead to nerve cell death and possibly memory loss.” Singharo goes on to explain that continued visits to dental hygiene professionals throughout one’s life may be more important than currently believed with inferences for health outside of the mouth only.
Although this study is relatively new, research between this link will continue as the current study has produced strong enough evidence to suggest that the link is a true one. Since the mouth is the gateway to the body, and also a major gateway to the bloodstream, it is always important to keep the mouth healthy.
Along with oral health, all researchers involved agree that the best way to reduce your risk of dementia is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Enjoy a balanced Mediterranean diet rich in fruit and vegetables, oily fish and even the occasional glass of red wine, take regular exercise and don’t smoke. And, with the release of this new study, take extra care of your mouth.
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