Poor dental health linked to Alzheimer's
Brush your teeth and floss regularly to prevent…Alzheimer's disease? According to new research from the University of Central Lancashire in the U.K., poor oral hygiene may increase a person's risk of developing dementia. The researchers found the presence of bacteria associated with gum disease in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, leading them to believe that bad dental care could be a factor in developing the condition. The researchers suspect that the bacteria enter the bloodstream and then the brain, triggering an immune response. This response, they said, may disrupt the chemical composition of the brain.
The researchers looked at brain samples of 10 dementia patients and 10 individuals who did not have the brain disease. In those suffering from dementia, the researchers found the presence of Porphyromonas gingivalis in the brain – the bacteria associated with chronic periodontal disease. In an attempt to kill the invading bacteria, the body's immune system releases chemicals that can cause changes in the brain, the scientists suggested.
The findings lend more support to the suspicion of a connection between dental health and degenerative brain disease. It remains to be proven, however, if poor dental hygiene can lead to dementia in healthy people or if it just may make it more likely to occur in people susceptible to the condition.