The BBC reported on a study that found a link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s which was surprising to me at first, but then not so surprising when I thought about it more.
I’ve been seeing more and more articles lately suggesting that low grade infections may be the underlying cause for Alzheimer’s and that the plaques that are diagnostic of Alzheimer’s are simply a result of the body’s attempt to fend off the infection rather than the cause of dementia.
This research is still in it’s early phase and may turn out to be a red herring, but when placed in the context of everything else we’re learning about infection and inflammation, deserves to be further explored.
Here are some highlights in the article that really jumped out at me.
It is thought the body’s response to gum inflammation may be hastening the brain’s decline.
The Alzheimer’s Society said if the link was proven to be true, then good oral health may help slow dementia.
Dentist Dr Mark Ide from King’s College London told the BBC News website he was “surprised” by the rate of decline, and said that as patients with gum disease chew on their teeth they were effectively giving themselves “mini-injections” of bacteria into their bloodstream.
When I went to the dentist a little over 6 months ago (which reminds me, it’s time to schedule another appointment), I did the MyPerioPath test which analyzed the bacteria in my mouth. In my research I had learned that gum disease has been linked to cardiovascular disease and wanted to see what my risk was.
It turned out that my oral biome was populated by a couple of nasty bugs that put me at risk for: infective endocarditis, brain abscesses, coronary artery plaques, aneurysms, pre-term births, pre-eclampsia, respiratory disease, and diabetes.
Looks like I’ll have to add the Alzheimer’s to the list of things I’m at risk for…
The idea of ‘mini-injections’ of bacteria whenever I chew is pretty frightening.
I’m still doing what the dentist recommended which currently includes:
- Brushing at my gum line with my Oral B electric brush
- Using Oxyfresh Mouthwash
- Brushing with these angled go between brushes
I think I’ll have the MyPerioPath test done again to see if I managed to change the profile of my oral biome at all.
*Image found here