Gum Disease and its Relation to Alzheimer’s Disease

Dr Jim here! A recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease revealed that a bacterium linked to gum disease was present in the brains of many Alzheimer’s patients. The study, was performed at the University of Central Lancashire in England. It showed that the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis was present in 4 out of 10 samples of brain tissue from Alzheimer’s patients compared to no signs of this bacterium from brains from people of similar age who never developed Alzheimer’s.

What does this mean? It further supports the theory that bacteria present in your mouth enter the bloodstream though chewing or tooth removal and end up in other parts of the body, including the brain. Theory suggests that, over time, chemicals produced by the bacteria can build up and contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s. According to StJohn Crean, dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, “We’ve shown an association, not causation. It does nothing more than prove that these bacteria do get to the brain.”

From our perspective, it further supports the basis of our practice that you must see your dentist (Fisher Jones Family Dentistry) on a regular basis and stay current on your dental hygiene schedule. Bacteria colonies repopulate your gum tissues every day so it is important to be seen by a hygienist at least 2 times a year (more for those people with gum disease) in order to reduce these bacteria colonies.

Fisher Jones also provides a simple spit test that can analyze the different types of bacteria in your gum tissues, identify specific high risk pathogens like Porphyromonas gingivalis, and create a program specifically for you to reduce their levels. The test is called MyPerioPath and it is very accurate in identifying the type of bacteria present in your gum tissues and their relative numbers. Call or ask us about this test at your next appointment. Something so simple can provide such important information that can improve your quality of life.

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