A new study has revealed that gum disease may play a critical role in the development of Alzhiemer’s disease. Scientists have stated that they now have ‘solid evidence’ that the bacteria responsible for periodontitis produces an enzyme which destroys neurons leading to memory loss.
The bacteria Porphyromnas gingivalis (P.gingivalis) is one of the main causes of tooth loss and gum disease and is also associated with heart complications. Experiments carried out by an international team of researchers tested the brains of 53 individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s and found the bacteria enzyme present in 96% of cases. The bacteria was also present in the spinal fluid of 7 out of 10 of the patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and in the saliva of each.
According to the British Dental Association (BDA), gum disease affects approximately 45% of people in the UK and 10% of this number suffer from a more severe form of periodontitis. A drug tested on mice effectively treated P. gingivalis brain infections, stopped the loss of memory neurons and reduced inflammation and levels of the brain molecule strongly associated with Alzheimer’s, known as beta-amyloid.
Later this year, a new drug developed by the team (COR388) that penetrates the central nervous system more effectively will be tested on patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. Dr David Reynolds, chief scientific officer at Alzheimer’s charity Alzheimer’s Research UK said that the disease was ‘likely to have multiple causes, one of which may be gum disease’. BDA scientific adviser Professor Damian Walmsley added that ‘This study offers a welcome reminder that oral health can’t remain an optional extra in our health service; everyone’s life can be improved by regular appointments and good oral hygiene’.
Hygienist appointments – their importance in controlling gum health
Dental hygiene appointments are often substituted for visits to the dentist and seen as secondary. The role of hygienists differs from the role of dentists, with the former being experts when it comes to the health of your gums, providing therapies to remove plaque that cannot be removed through brushing alone. If left untreated, the hardened plaque can lead to periodontitis over time, leading to conditions such as Alzheimer’s as well as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and strokes. Here at Smile Up, we will clean your teeth above and below the gum line to ensure that all remains of infected deposits that stick to your teeth are removed. We will then clean your teeth with our Airflow system, a more comfortable alternative to the traditional scale and polish treatments that use metal scrapers. You can read more about hygienist appointments and gum disease here.
Here at Smile Up, we are open 7 days a week to offer convenience and flexibility to our patients. We are a multi-lingual practice, speaking languages that include Polish, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Russian, Italian and Bulgarian. Get in touch with us today to book yourself in for a consultation.