The link between Gum Disease and Alzheimers

Gum disease can be debilitating. There are many types of infections that cause erosion of the gums and teeth, and which could have terrible side effects like bad breath and general mouth pain. It’s a proven fact that your oral hygiene directly affects your overall health and well-being. It is also known to affect the health of your heart! Bacteria in the bloodstream can travel to the heart and lead to a heart attack. Endocarditis – bacteria may find its way to the inner linings of the heart and valves, which in turn create growth pockets of bacteria. These pockets cause inflammation and infection of the inner linings of the heart.

Oral hygiene has also been linked to diabetes and having a safer pregnancy; it also has a lot to do with the fact that your spittle is filled with bacteria.

Scientists have recently discovered a link between gum disease and Alzheimers.

“We now have strong evidence connecting P. gingivalis and Alzheimer’s pathogenesis, but more research needs to be done before P. gingivalis is explicitly implicated in the causation or morbidity of AD,” said University of Louisville researcher, Jan Potempa, PhD, a member of the team led by Cortexyme Inc., a privately held, clinical-stage pharmaceutical company that sponsored the study.

A study published in the journal Science Advances, states that an enzyme given off by Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) bacteria — the same bacteria associated with gum disease—could be driving Alzheimer’s disease.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s, a type of dementia, is caused by brain cell death. It is a neurodegenerative disease, which means there is progressive brain cell death that happens over time. In a person with Alzheimer’s, the brain tissue has fewer and fewer nerve cells and connections, explains Medical News Today.

Researchers observed the bacteria in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. They also conducted tests on mice that showed that the gum infection led to an increased production of amyloid beta, a part of the amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease, says USA Today.

“Despite significant funding and the best efforts of academic, industry and advocacy communities, clinical progress against Alzheimer’s has been frustratingly slow,” Casey Lynch, author of the paper and CEO of pharmaceutical company, Cortexyme, said in a statement. “The Science Advances publication sheds light on an unexpected driver of Alzheimer’s pathology.”

How to avoid gum disease

The best way to stay healthy is brush, floss and get regular check-ups.

Most dental plans in South Africa cover day-to-day dentistry needs, including teeth cleaning, gum inspections and screenings for nasty cavities.

Dental cover in South Africa has come a long way, and Affinity Dental is one of the fastest growing dental insurance providers in South Africa.

Affinity Dental’s cover options allow you to choose a plan that best suits your needs, starting from as little as R175 a month.

So spend a little extra time on cleaning your teeth, gums and tongue. Most dentists recommend that you brush twice a day, once in the morning and just before going to bed.

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