What does Alzheimer’s disease have to do with oral health?

September 4, 2019

September is World Alzheimer’s Month, which aims to raise awareness and challenge the stigma around dementia. The Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC) explains that Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Early symptoms include getting lost in familiar places or losing items in odd places, among others. 

So, what does this have to do with our teeth?

Although the CDC notes that the root cause of Alzheimer’s disease is still unclear, researchers are starting to find some clues. Earlier this year, the American Academy of Periodontology shared a study that found a connection between Alzheimer’s disease and the bacteria that causes gum disease. Scientists at the University of Bergen in Norway found a similar link, and are even working on medicines to block the bacteria’s enzymes from entering the brain. Both studies stress that good oral hygiene habits may help minimize the risk of developing the disease.

What about someone who already has Alzheimer’s disease?

If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, they may need help with routine oral care to prevent tooth and gum problems, particularly as their condition worsens. The Alzheimer’s Association offers some suggestions on ways you can do this, such as giving your loved one step-by-step instructions as they brush or floss, and finding a dentist who has experience treating dementia patients. 

What can we learn from this research?

The research on Alzheimer’s disease highlights the importance of maintaining routine oral hygiene habits. By taking good care of our teeth and gums, we are contributing to our overall health and wellness. Give us a call if you have questions about proper preventative care, or need to schedule an appointment. We’re here to help.

Summit Dental Health is a part of Mortenson Dental Partners.

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