New Study Finds Link between Poor Oral Health and Alzheimer’s Disease

October 17, 2013 by Dr. Emanuel Layliev Blog, Dental News

People with poor oral hygiene may be more likely to get Alzheimer’s than those with healthy teeth, according to a new study.

The discovery was made by researchers from the University of Central Lancashire in the UK who detected the presence of a bacterium that is normally associated with chronic gum disease in the brains of patients who had dementia. The bacterium, Porphyromonas gingivalis, is found in the oral cavities, but can enter the blood stream and even the brain.

For the study, researchers compared 10 brain samples from patients who had been diagnosed with dementia with 10 from patients who had not had the disease.  Analysis of the samples from former dementia patients revealed the presence of the bacterium, while the other samples were clean.

Although more research is needed before a conclusion can be made, the researchers believe that the link is real. They also speculate that when this bacterium enters the brain, it could trigger various immune system responses, some of which could potentially kill neurons. If this were true, it could explain why patients who suffer from dementia experienced symptoms such as confusion and poor memory.

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