The Connection Between Gum Disease and Dementia
Dementia affects tens of millions of people worldwide with millions of new cases being reported each year. Although, there is currently no cure for dementia, experts have discovered some steps one can take to decrease the chance of developing this condition or limiting its effects. Some preventative measures include not smoking, getting exercise, stimulating the mind with puzzles, reading, maintaining a nutritious diet, and getting sufficient Vitamin D.
A recent study out of Taiwan adds yet another potential cause of dementia and therefore something else you can do to help protect yourself from this disease.
The research was carried out by teams from the Chung Shan Medical University and the National Defense Medical Center – both in Taiwan.
The purpose of the study was to look at how chronic periodontitis may relate to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, when looking at the development over a span of time.
Researchers used the data from a national health database which covered 99% of the country’s residents. They took a random sampling of 1 million people and selected two groups. One group had been diagnosed with chronic periodontitis (CP) and one had not.
The study concluded that people who had chronic periodontitis for at least 10 years had a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease that those who did not.
With this is mind, we have yet another reason to take care of our teeth and gums and to watch for signs of periodontitis (gum disease).
Signs of the onset of gum disease can include:
- Gums that bleed during brushing
- Swollen, red, or tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Loose teeth or teeth that are moving out of position
- Change in the fit of partial dentures
The good news is that, except in unusual cases, you can help prevent gum disease in three simple ways:
- Regular brushing
- Cleaning between the teeth with floss or other recommended tool
- Visiting your dentist twice per year
It turns out, taking care to prevent gum disease may help the body in ways we hadn’t even imagined.