Is gum disease associated with Alzheimer’s Disease?
A research conducted by Dr. Yu-Chao Chang’s team from Chung Shan Medical University in Taichung City, using data from Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database, shows that people who have suffered with chronic gum inflammation for 10 or more years were 70% more prone to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those people without any signs of periodontitis.
The report issued not too long ago, points at chronic periodontitis as the leading cause of tooth loss, but it shows it is also associated with an increase in markers of inflammation in the entire body. At the same time, other recent studies suggest that chronic periodontitis potentially contributes to a decline in thinking ability, which the authors note in Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy, a study that examined the likelihood of patients of 50 years old and older suffering from chronic periodontitis had an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Although they couldn’t find an overall connection between periodontitis and Alzheimer’s disease, people who have suffered from a chronic gum inflammation for 10 or more years were 70 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, than people without periodontitis.
After adjusting some of the factors of the investigation, including those that might influence the development of Alzheimer’s like stroke, diabetes, heart disease and urban environment, the link between long-term periodontitis and Alzheimer’s became apparent.
The results of this study support the idea that infectious diseases commonly associated with low-grade inflammation, including chronic periodontitis and other similar conditions, play a rather significant role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.
The findings of the research, particularly highlight the great need of preventive medicine, in which oral hygiene, and how regular visits to a periodontist are key to prevent any potential progression of periodontal disease. Furthermore, promoting healthcare services on a national scale that includes oral health could significantly reduce the risks.
Dr. Yago Leira Feijoo, a professor and researcher from Universidad de Santiago de Compostela in Spain has stated that “In fact, it is believed that the association between periodontitis and Alzheimer´s disease may be bi-directional,” Although Dr. Leira wasn’t involved in the study, he seemed assertive when he said that in spite of not being sure if the risk factor periodontal disease or Alzheimer´s disease, the scientific evidence available today shows a clear correlation between the two.
Either way, Dr. Leira encourages people to pay close attention to their oral health, just in case. Since periodontitis is a totally preventable and treatable disease, it is of extreme importance that periodontal patients are fully aware of the the systemic impact any potential risks of gum infection could have on their overall health.
Another doctor who was not involved in the original study, Dr. Ingar Olsen from University of Oslo in Norway also pointed out that dental care and oral health in old people must not be neglected in order to preserve overall health. He also encourages people to carefully brush their teeth carefully and pay regular visits to a periodontist for a deep cleanse. Making this a frequent practice will help prevent the development of periodontitis..
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