Oral Health and Brain Function
RECENT STUDIES DEMONSTRATE THE STRONG LINK BETWEEN ORAL HEALTH AND DETERIORATING BRAIN FUNCTION

The Link Between Periodontal Disease & Alzheimer’s Disease

According to a recent analysis conducted by the National Institute on Aging (2020), the bacteria associated with periodontal disease that causes chronic inflammation is also associated with the development of and progression of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related dementia, especially vascular dementia. Scientists believe that this type of dementia, specifically vascular dementia, is worsened by increasing inflammation which is exacerbated by periodontal disease.

Oral Hygiene & Age-related Dementia


The conditions of periodontal disease, especially bacterial infection and chronic inflammation, weaken the blood brain barrier and create a risk for potential cerebrovascular disease which can create inflammation in the brain. While there is no direct evidence linking gum disease with the initiation of Alzheimer’s disease, the study suggests that improper oral hygiene and periodontal inflammation can increase one’s chances of developing age-related dementia.

Gum Disease & Cognitive Function


Research by the National Institute of Aging (2020) studied the correlation between periodontal disease and cognitive function.  Results found that poor natural health may potentially increase the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Another study conducted by New York University (2021) found that older adults with more pathogenic bacteria than healthy bacteria were more likely to have evidence of amyloid beta biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease in their cerebrospinal fluid. The study provides evidence showing a connection between gum disease and Alzheimer’s or age-related dementia. Gum disease which affects greater than 75% of adults 65 or older is characterized by chronic and systemic inflammation initiated by tissue invasive bacteria. This study may have been the first one showing an association between an imbalanced bacterial community found in the oral cavity and the cerebrospinal fluid marker of Alzheimer’s disease. The research provides evidence for brain amyloid lesions being associated with increased periodontal bacteria which was statistically significant.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Norwood Park Periodontics
5212 North Le Claire Avenue
Chicago IL 60630
773-774-4888

©2023, All Rights Reserved
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy