Brushing your teeth regularly is a good way to avoid gum disease and, according to new research, the practice could possibly help you to avoid Alzheimer’s as well, as scientists reveal that the same bacteria that cause the gums to bleed also affect brain health and memory. This suggests that treatment for gum disease could be effective with Alzheimer’s.
The research, carried out at Kings College London and the University of Southampton, involved tracking 59 men and women with mild or moderate Alzheimer’s for a six month period. The tests showed that those with gum disease or periodontitis declined much more rapidly than those with healthy teeth and gums. It is thought that the germs activate the immune system, which triggers the release of chemicals within the body, affecting brain function and memory.
Mark Ide, of the Dental Institute at Kings College London said that around 80% of people aged 55 and above have gum disease, a worrying statistic when ‘a number of studies have shown that having few teeth, possibly as a consequence of earlier gum disease, is associated with a greater risk of developing dementia.’ He went on to say that various forms of research have revealed that effective treatment for gum disease could be useful in treating Alzheimer’s or at least slowing the patients decline.