Periodontal Associates - The Dental Implant Team

Alzheimer’s and Gum Disease

Don’t Forget to Brush

When someone close to you has Alzheimer’s disease, the last thing you may be worried about is if they are remembering their oral hygiene.  However, remembering to brush may be MORE important earlier in life before the onset of Alzheimer’s.  A new study reveals bacteria linked to gum disease travels to the brain of those with Alzheimer’s.  Dental hygiene and periodontal disease may play a role in the development of memory loss illnesses.  (Quick, it is not too late to come see Periodontal Associates in Aurora, CO for your cleaning.  Better late than never to see our gum specialists, Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman.)

“The results are very encouraging,” said Crean, the dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Central Lancashire in England.   The University was able to financially support the study between dementia and gum disease.  Brain tissues were analyzed from 10 Alzheimer’s patients and 10 patients of similar age with no signs of dementia or the disease. Within 10 samples of those with the disease, 4 samples showed signs of the bacterium known as Pophyromonas gingivalis.  However, no signs of gum disease bacteria were present in the non-memory impaired brain tissues.

The findings of this research support the idea that bacteria entering the mouth have access to enter the bloodstream, and once in the bloodstream, bacteria has access to just about any body part, including the brain.  As time progresses, the slow build up on this bacteria and the chemicals it releases may donate to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.  Crean insists, “We’ve shown an association, not causation.  It does nothing more than to prove that these bacteria do get to the brain.”  Entrance to the body’s main transportation center or blood stream is especially accessible in those with severe periodontal disease with deep pockets and bleeding gums.  Even those with healthy gum tissues allow blood stream access when chewing.  Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman are always stressing this importance to their patience about the mouth and body connection.

The association is close enough to keep Periodontal Associates’staff reaching for the floss, and Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman hope it does the same for you, too!  Brushing and flossing can allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream; however, the consistent habit of good oral hygiene cleans the teeth and gums to significantly lessen the number of bacteria. “The issue is to reduce the bacterial load that occupies our gum tissues, to reduce the bacterial assault if and when it happens,” Crean said.

Unsure how to keep bacteria at bay?  A good start is coming to see Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman.  Cleanings and exams are recommended every six months; however, for those patients with periodontal disease, we recommend seeing them every three months to clean out deep pockets and allow for better tissue reattachment.   Periodontal Associates is an office dedicated to not only dental implants but treating and preventing gum disease which ultimately protects patients from disease such as Alzheimer’s.

Please contact Periodontal Associates at (303) 755-4500 to learn more about the connection between periodontal disease and system diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory problems. Dr. Ken Versman, Dr. Doug Heller, and Dr. Eric Beckman are Denver’s high quality provider of gum disease treatment and dental implants.  If you or a loved one fear you may be dealing with periodontal disease and unsure who that will affect your future health, we encourage you to call or stop in to our Aurora office today!