This month in our regular articles which highlight the links between general health and oral health we are focusing on Alzheimer’s disease.
Recent research indicates that patients who have suffered from gum disease for over 10 years are over 70% more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
In the research, recently published in Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy, over 25,000 people were examined to determine if those suffering with chronic periodontitis (severe gum disease) and over the age of 50 had an increased chance of going on to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
In the past we have spoken about poor oral health increasing the risk of heart disease, having a stroke or developing diabetes and whilst there has been anecdotal evidence regarding a link with Alzheimer’s disease there has never been such a focused piece of research.
The authors of the research stressed that they did not find direct causal evidence of a link but that a 70% increase in likelihood of developing the disease was a significant outcome for focusing on oral health not just in maturing years, but from a young age.
So, what does this research mean?
The reason we post these general health articles is very simple. If good oral health can in any way help you to avoid contracting a more serious disease, isn’t it worth looking after your mouth?
Gum disease is not only highly preventable, it can be very effectively treated here at the practice, or at your own practice if you are not a patient of 92 Dental. Regular appointments with your hygienist are essential, and they will advise you how frequently those visits should be. In the cases of advanced gum disease, you may need to see them every three months.
You should also have regular check-ups with your dentist to ensure the overall health of your mouth is good.
Swelling, soreness, infection and bleeding of the gums are all signs of gum disease, either as gingivitis or periodontal disease. Remember, bleeding gums (no matter how minimal the bleeding) is not a normal occurrence and in the past many people dismissed it as nothing serious. Perhaps one of the most effective campaigns in recent years, at highlighting how serious it can be, was when a certain mouthwash brand had the bleeding eye advert which stated, “you wouldn’t ignore bleeding from any other part of your body”.
To summarise, look after your oral health and you may be minimising your risk of significant health issues in later life.
Ron Baise is a general dentist and founder of 92 Dental. He has over 35 years experience in general dentistry, including 31 years as a principal dentist.