Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about the role periodontal (gum) disease plays in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Although it may be hard to believe, the oral infection can increase your risk of developing it. To protect your smile and body, it is more important than ever to get treatment for gum disease in Pasadena at the first sign of the infection.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a preventable infection; however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates at least 50% of adults in the U.S. have a form of it. It develops when the gingival tissue becomes infected by bacteria found in plaque and tartar accumulations.
Over time, it destroys the supporting structures for your teeth, which can lead to tooth loss. The bacteria can also enter your bloodstream, causing inflammation throughout your body. This increases your risk of several health concerns, like cardiovascular disease and respiratory infections. Now, there is another risk – Alzheimer’s disease.
Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease
A recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reported a connection between the oral infection and patients with dementia. Researchers at the University of Central Lancashire School of Medicine and Dentistry examined the brain tissue of 20 patients. 10 patients had dementia and the other 10 did not. The researchers found the bacteria responsible for gum disease to be present in the brains of 4 of the dementia patients and none in the brains of those who did not have dementia.
The bacteria can enter your bloodstream through regular chewing or brushing your teeth. Once in the bloodstream, it is circulated throughout the body. It is believed once the bacteria reach the brain, it causes an immune system response that begins killing brain cells. This can cause significant changes in the brain, like those that are typically seen with Alzheimer’s disease.
Preventing Gum Disease
Although gum disease is common, it can easily be avoided with the right oral hygiene habits at home and regular visits to your dentist in Pasadena. To keep your gums healthy, it is best to:
- Brush all surfaces of your teeth using a soft-bristled toothbrush twice a day for at least 2 minutes each session.
- Use a high-quality dental floss to clean in between each tooth before going to bed at night.
- Avoid smoking and using tobacco.
- Do not drink alcohol in excess.
- Visit your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup.
Get a Healthy Mouth and Body
With your mouth the gateway to your general health, it is more important than ever to maintain a healthy smile. You can prevent gum disease with a proactive approach to your oral hygiene.
About Dr. Christopher Sierra
Dr. Christopher Sierra is a graduate of The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston. He strives to help his patients reach optimal well-being. Dr. Sierra provides many areas of specialty, including gum disease therapy. If you have signs of the infection, do not wait. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation.