There has been increasing research on the relationship between oral hygiene and dementia.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a pathological condition where one experiences loss of cognitive function that interferes with daily functioning and activities. The condition also interferes with social activities. Although the disease is not just restricted to the elderly, the most common form of dementia is ‘senile dementia’. This is caused by degenerative brain disease like Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia.
A recent study has found that the bacteria that causes gingivitis may also be connected to Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists have found that a specific species of bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis, travels from the mouth to the brain cells. Once the bacteria reach the brain cells, they releases enzymes called gingipains that have the potential to destroy nerve cells which could eventually lead to Alzheimer’s.
What Does The Study Reveal?
The study taken up by experts looked for evidence of the process of dementia in human brains. The brains of 53 diseased people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s were examined and the results showed high levels of gingipain in most of the diseased patients. The researchers also took note of the increased levels of gingipain over time. This suggests that there could be a tipping point when the symptoms of dementia first begin.
Another research study points out the association between dementia and oral health in Korea showed that dementia is more prevalent in women than in men. There are other important factors that increase the potential risk like smoking, alcohol consumption and lifestyle disorders. The research showed the cases of dementia were increased in the group of smokers, when compared with non-smokers.
What Can Be Done To Prevent Dementia One can reduce the risk for dementia by adopting a few good oral health habits. Visiting the dentist periodically helps you get insight on how to maintain good oral health. Not just that, you can take charge of your dental problems before they aggravate, by brushing your teeth twice a day. Improved dental hygiene will decrease the probability of getting Alzheimer’s due to oral health issues.