Oral health has been linked to many facets of bodily health. Our teeth and gums are linked to so many aspects of our health, that it is integral that we maintain a healthy mouth. There has been, however, been increased speculation that there is a link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s.
Researchers at the University of Central Lancashire School of Medicine and Dentistry carried out research into the subject. They carried out tests on the brain tissue samples of 10 people with dementia, and ten people who did not. They discovered that four of the ten people who suffered from dementia had the bacteria lipopolysaccharides present in the samples. None of those without dementia showed signs of the bacteria. The researchers concluded that the bacteria entered the bloodstream by through gums disease. The bacteria were then carried to other parts of the body such as the brain.
The study believes that the brain acts in a similar fashion to the gums in tackling bacteria. When the bacteria affect the gums, the body will attempt to kill the infected cells in order to prevent the spreading of the germs. The brain acts in a similar fashion. It kills the infected cells, but in doing so could also kill some of the functions of the brain. This is why it could lead to memory loss and diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
However, the study does have its detractors given the small number of samples which were investigated. The NHS, Britain’s national health service, said that while the numbers were not without there significance, there could not be a proven link between the two factors. It could be possible that those who suffered from gum disease could, by chance, also be those impacted by reduced brain function.
Whether or not there is a proven link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s there is, without doubt, many benefits to healthy gums. Deteriorating gums have been linked to heart disease as well as having an impact on oral health. Those who suffer from gum disease are more likely to develop issues such as tooth abscesses and even loss of teeth. The best method to avoiding health problems associated with gum disease is to brush and floss regularly, avoid smoking and make frequent visits to your dentist.