For years, researchers and doctors have been stumped by the underlying cause of Alzheimer’s disease, which has made it difficult to come up with a cure for this life-altering condition. For years, doctors believe that Alzheimer’s disease was caused by an abundance of specific proteins in the brain, but research that was published early this year indicates that this debilitating, chronic illness may actually be caused by the bacteria, P. gingivalis that is linked to gum disease. Keep reading to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, gum disease, and how maintaining a healthy smile may reduce your risk for this condition.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological condition that leads to progressive memory loss and diminished brain function that develops gradually over a decade or longer. For years, it was assumed that the accumulation of amyloid and tau proteins was the cause of this condition, but recent research indicates that the plaques produced by the amyloid proteins to destroy bacteria may actually by the underlying cause of the disease.
How is it Connected to Oral Health?
Patients struggling with gum disease typically develop this condition due to a buildup of plaque in the mouth. This plaque is produced by oral bacteria that are a natural part of the body’s digestive system. Those who have an excess of one specific bacterium, P. gingivalis, are much more likely to develop gum disease when these bacteria produce plaque that destroys supportive bone and soft tissue around teeth. The same P. gingivalis bacteria may enter the bloodstream, making their way to the brain through sores in the mouth. When this happens, the amyloid proteins are multiplied and attack the bacteria. Over time, this may lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
Is Improved Oral Health the Cure for Alzheimer’s Disease?
Research is ongoing, but if P. gingivalis is the cause of Alzheimer’s disease, improving your oral health may just be the best way to reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Great oral hygiene means taking time to perform thorough at-home hygiene every day as well as visiting the dentist twice a year for dental exams and teeth cleanings. If you are diagnosed with gum disease, seek immediate treatment.
Meet the Avanti Dentistry Team
The Avanti Dentistry team in Tysons is made up of skilled dentists and dentistry professionals who truly care about every patient they treat. These knowledgeable dental care providers go the extra mile to help patients achieve and maintain their healthiest smiles and keep them healthy for life. During regular dental checkups, we’ll screen for gum disease and help patients prevent this condition before it ever begins. When gum disease can’t be prevented, we partner with patients to develop personalized treatment plans to fully renew oral health and function. Call our dental office in Tysons to schedule an appointment today.