Gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a neuro-degenerative disease which is characterised by inflammatory features including increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines which contribute to the inflammatory status of the central nervous system. Gum disease is a progressive chromic inflammatory disease which is caused by bacteria in the mouth triggering reactions which cause destruction of the foundations of our teeth, the bone and gums.
The relationship between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease
The relationship and link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease is a tentative one at the moment, but one nonetheless the early research appears to have some substance and certainly provides us with a possible link.
The study that the link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease is currently based was an observational study carried out by King’s College London and the University of Southampton. In the study 60 or so people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease were cognitively assessed and a blood sample was taken to measure inflammatory markers in their blood.
The participants’ dental health was then assessed by a dental hygienist and the majority of participants were followed-up after 6 months when the assessments were repeated.
The results of this very small study showed the presence of gum disease was associated with a six-fold increase in the rate of cognitive decline in participants over the six-month follow-up period of the study. It concluded that gum disease is associated with an increase in cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease, possibly by mechanisms linked to the body’s inflammatory response.
How we can help you
Of course the link between Alzheimer’s disease and gum disease is in its very early stages, but for the sake of maintaining good oral hygiene should not be taken likely and may help reduce the risk of this terrible disease.
Our periodontal team have years of experience in helping patients improve their oral hygiene and reduce their risk of not only gum disease but the systemic health effects which result from gum disease. For more information on these other systemic health effects, just select one of the topics from the menu to the left.
You don’t have to be a registered patient with us to see our periodontal team, in fact many patients come to us either as a self referral or on referral from their own dentist.
How do I book an appointment?
1. Register as a patient for your regular dental care. (Insert contact us page)
2. See one of our hygiene team for an initial assessment (with direct access and our ‘Simply Dental Care’ programme you do not need to see a dentist to see a dental hygienist or dental therapist More details and prices can be found by clicking here. (insert fee guide)
3. If you have your own dentist, chat to them first, they may be able to refer you to see a hygienist at your own practice. If you have already seen a dental hygienist at your own practice and your gum disease is not improving your dentist can refer you to see us for more specialist help by clicking here. (insert referral page)
What can I do myself?
Good oral hygiene is the key to maintaining healthy gums, which starts with what you do at home and more specifically your oral hygiene (cleaning) routine. The plaque and bacteria that cause gum disease are soft and sticky and are easily removed with a toothbrush. Once the plaque has hardened its is called tartar or calculus and is nearly impossible to remove yourself.
Tooth brushing technique is one of the most important things, yet it always amazes us that very few people have ever been shown how to effectively brush their teeth. You can have the fanciest toothbrush in the world, but if you don’t know how to use if properly it will never work as effectively as it should! Letting us show you how to effectively clean your teeth will help prevent future problems and will also save you money in the longer term, as you will need to see us less.
It is important to remember that 30-40% of the gum and tooth surface is between your teeth, so if you are not using anything to clean in between your teeth such as interdental brushes or floss/tape you are missing up to 40% of the mouth
We are members of the BSP (British Society of Periodontology) which is the UK’s leading authority on gum disease and is at the forefront of advancing research and knowledge into gum disease. This gives us access to the latest publications, treatment guidelines and research to ensure we are treating our patients to the highest standards.