Dear Patients, this is Cristina,

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease represent some of the most pressing public health challenges of our time, with millions affected worldwide. Recent research has shed light on the potential connection between oral health and the risk of developing these neurodegenerative conditions. Below I look at the intricate link between dental health and dementia/Alzheimer’s disease, drawing on current research and scientific evidence.

The Oral-Brain Connection

  1. Inflammatory Pathways: Chronic inflammation is a common feature in both dental diseases, such as periodontitis, and neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s. Periodontal pathogens can enter the bloodstream and contribute to systemic inflammation, which may play a role in brain inflammation and cognitive decline.
  2. Bacterial Infections: Studies have shown a potential association between oral bacteria, particularly Porphyromonas gingivalis, and Alzheimer’s disease. This bacterium has been found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients and is linked to the production of amyloid-beta, a protein implicated in the disease’s pathology.
  3. Systemic Health Impact: Poor oral health has been linked to a range of systemic health issues, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. These conditions are themselves risk factors for dementia and Alzheimer’s, suggesting an indirect link between oral health and cognitive decline.

Preventive Measures

  1. Good Oral Hygiene: Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups can help prevent gum disease and reduce the risk of systemic inflammation associated with dementia.
  2. Lifestyle Factors: A balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol intake can contribute to both better oral health and reduced dementia risk.

The evidence supporting the link between dental health and dementia/Alzheimer’s disease is growing, suggesting that taking care of your teeth and gums may be more critical than ever. While more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms at play, it is clear that good oral health can contribute to overall well-being and may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases. As such, individuals should prioritise oral health as an essential component of dementia prevention and management.




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