Did you know that scientists have discovered a link between bad oral health, gum disease and Alzheimer’s? When scientists from the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom examined samples of brain tissue from individuals with Alzheimer’s, a form of dementia, they found porphyromonas gingivalis, which is normally found in the mouth, in the brain.
Porphyromonas Gingivalis and Alzheimer’s
Porphyromonas gingivalis causes gingivitis, which is characterized by swollen, inflamed, and bleeding gums. Gingivitis is a precursor to periodontal disease. According to an article in Medical News Today, scientists surmised that an immune system response to the bacteria entering the brain could destroy the brain’s neuron cells, of which there are about 86 billion in the brain. As these neurons are increasingly damaged, memory and other bodily processes are negatively affected, which can increase the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Hypothesis On How Porphyromonas Gingivalis Enters The Brain
Researchers believe that it is possible for porphyromonas gingivalis to enter the brain on a daily basis through common actions, including eating, chewing, and even brushing one’s teeth. The process is believed to start when a pathway is opened from the mouth into the bloodstream. For individuals with gingivitis, the pathway could start with bleeding gums. From there, the bacteria flows through the bloodstream into the brain, triggering an immune system response to destroy the invading bacteria. As a result, the chemicals created by the immune system may harm the neurons in the brain, resulting in progressive memory loss and a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, which is currently incurable.
However, the small amounts of bacteria that may enter the bloodstream during teeth brushing, chewing, and eating may pale in comparison to the amount of bacteria that enters the bloodstream during major dental procedures, like root canals and tooth extractions, where the pathway to the bloodstream becomes much larger for a short period of time. If these procedures are undergone regularly, they may contribute to the development of memory loss and confusion, which are two of the primary symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
Improving Oral Health with Regular Checkups and Dental Cleanings from Our Dentist in Clermont
In order to reduce the bad bacteria in your mouth, like porphyromonas gingivalis, it’s important to keep your teeth and mouth clean with regular at-home care and to visit your dentist for regular dental checkups and teeth cleanings. Regular dental checkups can catch gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontal disease, as well as cavities and alignment problems with the teeth that may be affecting your oral health and ability to get your teeth clean with brushing and flossing.
If we do find evidence of gum disease, our dentist offers periodontal cleanings. These deep dental cleanings remove all the bacteria and infection from the pockets that have formed between the teeth and the gum tissue. Once all the bacteria, plaque, and tartar have been removed from the teeth and the roots of the teeth, the gums will slowly begin to heal, which will restore your oral health and make it less likely that you will need future tooth extractions and root canals.
When it comes to ensuring that you can properly clean your teeth at home, having crooked or crowded teeth can make it difficult to reach every surface of the tooth and floss between your teeth to prevent cavities and plaque and tartar buildup. In order to correct this problem, you may need braces or clear aligners that can move your teeth to their correct positions. If our Clermont dentist determines that you would benefit from straightening your teeth, we can refer you to a local orthodontist.
Additional services that we offer include sealants to help deter cavities in the back teeth, crowns and bridges, and teeth whitening so that you can improve the appearance of your smile. To schedule an appointment for your next dental checkup and teeth cleaning, give our Clermont family dentistry a call at 352-989-5815 today!