Gum Disease Link to Alzheimer's, Research Suggests - Dream Health

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Monday 21 March 2016

Gum Disease Link to Alzheimer's, Research Suggests

Gum Disease Related to Alzheimer’s disease

An early stage research had submitted that gum disease has been related to a larger rate of cognitive decline in individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The study which was published in PLOS ONE, viewed 59 persons who seemed to have mild to moderate dementia. It is presumed that the response of the body to gum inflammation could be hastening the decline of the brain.

 The Alzheimer’s Society stated that if the link proved to be true then good oral health could help in slowing down dementia. The possible reason for the quicker decline was referred to the body’s response to inflammatory conditions. The immune cells tend to swell due to inflammations and have been connected with Alzheimer’s.

 Researchers are of the belief that their discoveries seem to add weight to evidence that the inflammation in the brain is responsible for the disease. The study which is jointly led by the University of Southampton and King’s College London, cognitively evaluated the participants, taking blood samples for measuring inflammatory markers in their blood. Their oral health was also evaluated by dental hygienist who had been unaware of the cognitive results.

Patients with Gum Disease – Chew on Teeth – Mini Injections of bacteria in Bloodstream

Twenty-two of the sample group had been found to have significant gum disease while the remaining 37 of them, the disease seemed to be less apparent. The normal age of the group having gum disease was 75 while in the other group it was 79. A majority of 52 participants were followed up at six months with all assessments repeated. Gum disease or periodontitis as it is known was related to six fold increase in the rate of cognitive decline according to the study.

Dentist Dr Mark Ide from King’s College London had informed BBC News website that he had been surprised by the decline rate and stated that as patients with gum disease tend to chew on their teeth, they were effectively giving themselves mini injections of bacteria in their bloodstream.

He had mentioned that in just six months one could see the patients going downhill which was quite frightening. Advanced levels of antibodies to periodontal bacteria are linked with an increase in levels of inflammatory molecule elsewhere in the body which turn out to be connected to higher rates of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease.

Better Dental Hygiene

The director of research and development at the Alzheimer’s Society, Dr Doug Brown, also acknowledged that the study tends to add evidence to the idea that the gum disease could probably be contributing to Alzheimer’s. He stated that if this is proved, better dental hygiene would provide a straightforward option of helping in slowing the progress of dementia, enabling people to remain independent for a longer period of time.

However he described the study as `small’ and said that it was presently uncertain whether the gum disease was the cause of the effect. He added that they don’t know if the gum disease is activating the faster decline of dementia or vice versa.

In the UK about 80% adults of more than 55 years of age had evidence of gum disease as per the adult dental survey of 2009, the latest data available. Around half a million people with Alzheimer’s disease tend to be living in the UK.

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