• Home
  • News
  • Gum Disease Linked To Alzheimer's

Gum Disease Linked To Alzheimer's

14 Jun 2022 11:35 AM | Anonymous

The mouth is home to about 700 or more species of bacteria, one of which is Porphyromonas Gingivalis, the most common culprit of gum disease. The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reported related dementias, especially vascular dementia associated with the bacteria that can cause periodontal disease.  

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a large population study performed by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, examined whether gum disease and infections with oral bacteria were linked to dementia diagnoses and deaths using restricted data linkages with Medicare records and the National Death Index.  The team compared different age groups at baseline  with up to 26 years of follow-up for more than 6,000 participants.  

The participants received a dental exam for signs of gingival disease.  In addition, the participants received blood tests for antibodies against causative bacteria.  The team analyzed antibodies against 19 oral bacteria for an association with the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s diagnosis of any kind of dementia, and death from Alzheimer’s.  Of these 19, Porphyromonas gingivalis is the most common culprit of gum disease.  In fact, a recent study suggests that plaques of beta-amyloid protein, a major hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, may be produced as a response to this infection.  Clusters with other bacteria such as Campylobacter rectus and Prevotella melaninogenica further increase the risks.

It was emphasized that future studies and clinical trials are still needed to test whether treating infections with Porhyromonas gingivalis can reduce the development or symptoms of dementia.  

Gingivitis has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease, but a recent study says that the bacteria that causes gingivitis also could be connected to Alzheimer’s disease.  This study was published January 23, 2019 in Science Advances. 

Scientists have found that the bacteria called Porphyromonas gingivalis can move from the mouth to the brain.  Once in the brain, the bacteria releases enzymes called gingipains that can destroy nerve cells, which in turn can lead to memory loss and eventually Alzheimer’s.  

To maintain lifelong good oral health, the elderly need regular dental care. 

Dental treatment in early stages of the disease are important and should be finalized at producing a stable oral condition. This could improve the quality of life and contribute to decrease worsening of oral situations in the later stages of the disease when dental treatment may be difficult. 

For additional information about this and other topics, please visit these resources:

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software