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How is Alzheimer’s Linked to Poor Oral Health in the Eldery, and how to Prevent it

Posted on November 13th, 2022

Did you know that ten percent of people over the age of sixty-five are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease? In addition to that, seventy percent of them also suffer from the advanced stages of gum disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Family Center.  

Many people believe seniors have poor oral hygiene because of dementia, and while this is true sometimes, there is evidence to show it works the other way around. Gum disease caused by poor oral hygiene may raise your chances of developing Alzheimer’s. That is why it’s a good idea to continue consistent oral hygiene habits from the time we are young throughout the onset of old age. Seeing your dentist regularly is one of the best ways to avoid developing gum disease. If you think you may have gum disease, contact Advanced Dentistry by Design

Recent studies show that Alzheimer’s disease and dementia could be caused by an infectious bacterium related to chronic gum disease. Scientists researched this topic by taking brain tissue samples from deceased patients who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. In these samples, they found the same bacteria associated with chronic gum disease (also known as Porphyomonas gingivalis). Added to this, they found the same bacteria in the brain tissue of patients not diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease prior to their time of death. These findings could mean these bacteria could be linked to the development of this serious cognitive ailment. 

Oral hygiene habits that may be easy for younger people may become very difficult for us as we get older, especially to people who have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.  Because of this, it is necessary to pay close attention to oral hygiene habits and intervene when necessary. Some suggested steps to take include:

  • Electric toothbrush vs. Manual toothbrush
  • Waterpiks 
  • Mouthwash and/or toothpaste prescribed by a dentist 
  • More regular dental visits 
  • Help from a family member, friend or caretaker

Good oral hygiene increases in importance as you age. Knowing and understanding the connection between chronic gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease could delay or even prevent these conditions altogether.  Besides what we have listed above, it’s always a good practice to make regular appointments with your dentist.  We are accepting new patients, and would love to talk with you or your family members to help you understand these issues in more detail. Call us and make an appointment today!
The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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