February 16, 2019
Every year billions of dollars are spent on Alzheimer’s research to find the causes and develop treatments, but no solution has been discovered as of yet. That may change in the near future. Recent research suggests that the same bacteria that causes gum disease may be a cause of Alzheimer’s in Falls Church. Check out this helpful information that can help you understand this new research.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is a chronic inflammatory condition in the gums. The bacteria in the plaque produce toxins that irritate gums, causing them to become red, swollen, and sensitive. In more advanced stages of the disease, the gums can pull away from the teeth, forming pockets underneath the gums and trapping more bacteria and food particles. Eventually, teeth’s supporting bone and tissue can be permanently damaged and teeth can be lost.
What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, which generally refers to a decline in mental abilities that interferes with daily life. Alzheimer’s causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior and typically develops slowly, worsening over time. Although many Alzheimer’s patients are over 65 years old, it is not a normal part of aging and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It currently has no cure, but there are treatments that can help slow the disease’s progression.
How can gum disease cause Alzheimer’s?
Gum disease has been linked to many other medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease, just to name a few. But how does a disease in your mouth lead to a disease in your brain? P. gingivalis, the bacteria that cause gum disease can invade white blood cells that travel to the brain or invade cranial nerves near the mouth, penetrating to the brain over the course of several years. Because these bacteria cause inflammation in the gums, they may do the same in the brain and directly attack the neurons that support memory. Or they could set off a chain reaction in the brain that unintentionally causes damage to neurons and starts the process of Alzheimer’s.
Although it isn’t clear yet whether the bacteria triggers a reaction or the bacteria themselves directly damage neurons, the connection is definitely worth exploring more in the future. Alzheimer’s is a complex disease and likely doesn’t have just one cause but a myriad of factors. However, if further research continues to support this finding, there will be yet another reason to do your best to maintain your oral health and prevent gum disease with your dentist in Falls Church.
About the Practice
At Tysons Dental Esthetics, Dr. Sanae Berrada and Dr. Shri Chopra have many years of dental experience each. They are also mothers and know how to treat patients of all ages with compassion. They and the staff at Tysons Dental Esthetics are dedicated to quality, expert comprehensive care in preventive, restorative, cosmetic, and orthodontic care. To contact them for an appointment, you can call (703) 821-8111 or click here.
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