Understanding the Connection: Gum Disease and Dementia in Aging
The Growing Concern of Gum Disease and Cognitive Decline
As we get older, our susceptibility to various health issues, including dental problems and cognitive decline, increases. The link between gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, and dementia might not be obvious at first, but research has established a significant connection between these two conditions.
It arises from a bacterial infection that targets the tissues around and supporting the teeth. It starts with bacteria in the mouth forming plaque, a sticky film that, over time, hardens into tartar. Only dental professionals can remove tartar effectively.
The Escalation and Risks of Leaving it Untreated:
If not treated, it leads to inflammation and damage to the gums and supporting tissues. Eventually, it can cause teeth to loosen or fall out. However, the repercussions extend beyond oral health. Research indicates that the bacteria from it can enter the bloodstream, affecting other body parts, including potentially contributing to dementia.
A study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease highlighted that individuals with gum disease are at a significantly higher risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, the most prevalent form of dementia. The study suggested that those with gum disease had nearly double the risk of Alzheimer’s. Although the exact reasons for this connection are still being explored, it’s believed that gum disease bacteria may cause inflammation throughout the body, including the brain, leading to brain cell damage and dementia.
Preventative Measures: Combating It
Reducing the risk of it and, consequently, dementia is possible through various steps:
- Effective Oral Hygiene: Regular brushing and flossing remove plaque and bacteria, crucial in preventing gum disease.
- Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and avoiding tobacco contribute to overall health, reducing the risk of both gum disease and dementia.
Professional Dental Care: Your Ally in Prevention
Consulting with dental experts like Dr. Chelsea Perry at Elite Dental Studio in Westborough can provide vital guidance in maintaining oral health and lowering the risk of age-related conditions like gum disease and dementia. Our team offers comprehensive care and advice to protect both oral and cognitive health as you age.