Senior oral care

Poor oral health linked to dementia

Poor oral health may be associated with a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD), according to a report recently released from the CareQuest Institute for Oral Health.  

Therefore, improving one’s oral health may help prevent or reduce the symptoms of these life-altering brain diseases, according to the report, which was released on April 24. 

“As poor oral health is linked to an increased risk for being diagnosed with ADRD, it is all the more important to determine whether improvements in oral health may prevent or reduce the symptoms of this disease,” wrote the authors.

Over the years, studies have suggested multiple ties between oral health and brain diseases.  

For instance, studies have shown that adults between the ages of 50 and 80 with Alzheimer’s have worse gum health, including more plaque, deeper gum pockets, increased bone loss around teeth, and more gum bleeding compared to those without the disease, according to the report.

Click here to read the full article

Another study links periodontitis to Alzheimer’s disease

Yet another study has linked periodontal and Alzheimer’s disease. The bacteria behind periodontal disease may also contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s, according to a review published on July 21 in the Journal of Dental Sciences.

Until now, studies analyzing the association between the diseases have lacked clarity on the role of the oral microbiome. In their analysis of 26 studies using databases or the next-generation sequencing technique, researchers reaffirmed the link between periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s. The findings suggest that Gram-negative bacteria may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s, although researchers couldn’t confirm a causative relationship.

“Epidemiologic research and post-mortem studies showed that the presence of periodontitis is associated with cognitive decline, suggesting a possible role of periodontal pathogens in the pathogenesis of AD [Alzheimer’s disease],” wrote the study authors, led by Samantha Mao from the department of dentistry at Sijhih Cathay General Hospital in Taiwan (J Dent Sci, July 21, 2022).

Age, genetic susceptibility, neuropathology, and infection are all accepted causes of Alzheimer’s. While research has shown a link between periodontal disease and cognitive decline, whether Alzheimer’s leads to periodontitis or periodontitis is a contributing factor to Alzheimer’s remains unconfirmed.

The latest review results once again confirm that the presence of periodontitis is associated with cognitive decline. Although the review couldn’t determine a causative relationship, Gram-negative bacteria appeared more abundant in patients with Alzheimer’s. Researchers hypothesized that this type of bacteria could serve as a catalyst for amyloid plaque formation, which are thought to play a key role in Alzheimer’s.

Read this article in full at Dr Bicuspid

Other resources:

What you and your patients need to know about gum disease and brain health

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