70% more risk of dementia for gum disease patients
A new study has shown how gum disease could increase the risk of developing dementia, aside from the many other health problems it has been previously linked to, such as heart disease. According to a study of 28,000 people, the regular brushing of teeth and a consistent dental care routine lowers the risk of developing dementia. In fact, experts claim that regular dental care might be promoted as a way of warding off Alzheimer’s disease if further research confirms the apparent link between these two factors.
When a buildup of plaque causes swelling or infections it means you’ve developed gum disease or periodontal disease. The researches concluded that these inflammations and years of mouth health issues might eventually result in brain damage. Keeping in mind that heart disease and early cancer deaths have been associated to gum disease, it doesn’t seem strange that other health problems -including dementia– have also shown signs of a potential link with gum disease. Especially given that patients with gum disease usually deteriorate faster than those patients who don’t suffer from the condition.
The most recent Taiwanese study conducted on 9,300 patients who had recently been diagnosed with chronic periodontitis showed that 115 of the participants developed Alzheimer’s after 10 years unlike the other 18,700 participants, who did not suffer from gum disease. “Those participants with long-term gum disease were 70 per cent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s during their lifetimes.” stated the study recently published on the journal Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy.
Although the authors of the study specified that further research is necessary to verify their current hypothesis and extract more conclusive evidence, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, James Pickett has stated that in spite of how much of stretch it might seem, gum disease could be linked to brain health and it is possible that any immune reaction triggered by gum disease finds its way to the brain, contributing to the development of dementia.
However, even if 70% sounds like a massive risk, this percentage translates to 1 in every 100 people, which means that the evidence about promoting gum health being able of lowering the risk of dementia is not conclusive but seems to be well oriented.
Based on the evidence, it seems like the best way to keep your gums and your brain healthy is to maintain a healthy diet, avoid smoking, drink moderately, keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in check, and of course, staying mentally and physically active.