The Link Between Alzheimer’s And Poor Oral Health
Latest studies reviewed….
Here at Abbey Road Dental we are always really careful to explain that any potential links between oral health and medical issues and conditions are only ‘potential’ unless proven otherwise.
However, it is also important to understand the potential links between certain illnesses and your oral health, so you’re as informed as you possibly can be.
The more you know, the more in control of your oral health journey you are able to be!
With that in mind, we wondered if you had seen the recent news reports suggesting there is a link between poor oral health and Alzheimer’s? An article shared by The Independent recently looked into a study published in a US science paper that suggested the link between poor oral health and Alzheimer’s is present. More specifically, the link is between gum disease and Alzheimer’s with the risk doubling if you struggle with gum disease for a decade or longer. The test itself involved mice who presented with active gum disease and specific cells from the condition were found to spread to the brain, destroying nerve cells once there. The evidence was so strong that human drug trials will begin later in 2019 for additional evidence.
The article continues on to explain that gum disease is thought to potentially act as a factor (along with lots of other factors) and not a complete cause at this stage.
This isn’t so much of a surprise because it is known that gum disease can be a contributory factor to lots of medical issues such as heart disease, although the evidence isn’t final.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a condition that occurs when plaque and tartar builds up on the teeth and the naturally occurring bacteria contained therein, produce acid bi-products which irritate the gums. The early irritation can cause swollen gums, red gums, bleeding gums and in some instances, minor symptoms that may not be noticeable at all. Once developed, gum disease can progress to be periodontitis which can eventually cause tooth loss.
Gum Disease Risk Factors
There are many factors that make gum disease a risk, including (but not limited to):
- Certain medical conditions
- What you eat and drink
- Bad oral hygiene
- Poor dental support
- Immune issues
- Connective tissue conditions
- Previous gum disease issues
Preventing Gum Disease
Here at Abbey Road Dental we know that gum disease is entirely preventable in most people. With the right approach, you can prevent gum disease and so avoid the potential risks to your oral health and, as we are starting to realise, to the rest of your body too.
Prevention Starts At Home
Your day-to-day oral health habits are incredibly important when it comes to the prevention of gum disease. Brushing for two minutes a day twice, will go a long way to ensuring your teeth are free from plaque. How you brush is really important too, as you may miss certain areas then making them prone to plaque. Misaligned teeth are more prone to plaque because they are harder to clean. Using the right toothbrush and toothpaste is also important, as well as flossing everyday too, using about 10 inches of floss each time.
What you eat and drink also impacts your oral health too and any amount of brushing and flossing will not reverse the effects of a bad diet. Consuming lots of high-sugar products, high-starch products and highly acidic products will take its toll on your teeth and will contribute to your gum disease risk. Eating a healthy diet will help your oral health and overall vitality, so it makes sense to adjust your diet accordingly for all round health.
It is also important to draw attention to the issue of smoking and excess drinking. Both habits will increase your risk of gum disease and drinking excessively in particular, is also thought to increase your risk of neglecting your oral health. Quitting smoking or cutting your drinking down are really huge steps towards better oral health.
Support In Avoiding Gum Disease
As well as the hard work you put in at home towards your oral health there is also external support to help avoid gum disease.
Our St John’s Wood dental hygienist is highly experienced in gum disease prevention and management and will be able to offer you lots of advice and support to limit your gum disease risk. Using special dental cleans, demonstrations, advice and drawing on a wealth of experience, our hygienist will be able to help you avoid gum disease. Regular checkups with our team will also help you avoid gum disease progression as the moment the dentist sees you are at risk they will refer you to the hygienist.
What If I Already Have Gum Disease?
If you have gum disease in its early stages, it is usually reversible or at least manageable, so it is important you visit the dentist as soon as possible to get the support that you need. We also recommend you visit us on a regular basis if you are at risk of developing gum disease because of medication, pregnancy or other factors so we can monitor your oral health closely.
If you think you might have periodontitis we can also support you with our periodontal services. Using various treatments and sometimes, periodontal surgery, as well as support from the hygienist we can help to get your periodontal condition under control. We also have a wide range of restorative and cosmetic treatments to help you get your smile confidence back following damage done by periodontitis.
Get In Touch With Abbey Road Dental In St John’s Wood Today!
If you are interested in gum disease treatment or support, or you would like to book a check-up at our well-equipped local practice, then please get in touch. We have the expertise and skills to help you maintain a beautiful healthy smile that contributes to the overall health of your body. Please call our friendly team today!