Alzheimer’s Link to Oral Health Infections

In an article posted in RDH The National Magazine for Dental Hygiene Professionals, “Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the US and the only top 10 disease that cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed, perhaps until now.” Until recently it has been unclear whether gum disease causes Alzheimer’s disease (AD), or whether dementia leads to poor oral care. New research is confirming that AD is an infection with solid evidence connecting the pathogen P. gingivalis and Alzheimer’s pathogenesis.

A Bacterial Culprit

The article also states, “One of the most common ways microbes reach the brain is through the bloodstream. During chewing, flossing, and dental treatment, periodontal bacteria are released into the bloodstream. Bacteria can remain in periodontal pockets and continue to be released.” It’s also noted that 47.2% of American adults have some degree of periodontal disease, with the prevalence increasing to 70.1% in adults 65 and older. Bacteria can be found in the sticky plaque biofilm that covers many surfaces in the mouth.

Dental Professional’s Role

At Reisman Dental Group, Dr. James ReismanDr. Jordana Contrucci and our excellent staff of dental hygienists share a common goal of helping patients achieve and maintain optimum oral health. Their understanding of the connection of oral hygiene and systemic diseases makes their patients health top priority. Even after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, it is imperative to continue periodontal treatment to avoid further complications from poor oral health and periodontal disease. “Perhaps the key to slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s is as simple as exemplary oral hygiene and preventative dentistry.”