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Oral Health & Alzheimer’s Disease

According to an article written by senior research fellow, Sim. K. Singhrao, from the School of Dentistry in Lancashire, research now shows a link between poor oral health and Alzheimer’s.

We know that brushing our teeth keeps our gums healthy, helps to prevent cavities and keeps our breath fresh. Research now suggests that our home care routine may be even more significant due to links between oral health and other parts of the body.

There is increasing evidence to suggest a possible link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease and gum disease is now considered a plausible factor.

A new US study details how a type of bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis or P. gingivalis – associated with gum disease has been found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Tests on mice also showed how the bacteria spread from their mouth to the brain where it destroyed nerve cells.

The report in question was carried out and self-funded by founders of the US pharmaceutical company Cortexyme, which is researching the cause of Alzheimer’s and other degenerative disorders. Scientists from the San Francisco drugs firm will launch a human trial later this year.

It is important to remember however that not everyone who suffers from gum disease develops Alzheimer’s disease, and not all who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, have gum disease.

To find out who is “at risk”, scientists now need to develop tests that can show the dentist who to target. Dental clinicians can then advise those people as to how they can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease through better management of their oral health. But until then, regularly brushing your teeth and maintaining good oral hygiene is recommended.

Extracts from the article have been included in this blog.

Sim K Singhrao is a senior research fellow in the School of DentistryUniversity of Central Lancashire. This article originally appeared in The Conversation