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Link Established Between Dementia And Bad Oral Health

dementia diagramA study from England has shown that people who have gum disease or poor oral health practices in general could be at greater risk for developing dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease than people who have good teeth and don’t have to have a lot of complex dental procedures.

The study come from the University of Central Lancashire and determined that some people who have dementia have in their brains a bacteria commonly associated with gum disease. They reached this conclusion by studying the brain samples of 10 patients with dementia and 10 patients without the condition who had donated their brains after death for scientific study.

The study was small but important, according to experts. And it was published in the prestigious Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The kind of bacteria that’s usually found in the oral cavity can get into the bloodstream in a variety of ways, and from there it can get into the brain, the experts suggest. Simple things like chewing, eating and brushing release the bacteria — and so does having complex dental procedures when the bacteria is present and hasn’t been first eradicated.

The study joins another conducted in New York that found a solid link between Alzheimer’s disease and poor condition of the oral cavity. That 2010 study found that Alzheimer’s is linked to inflammation of the gum tissue and concluded that gum disease can contribute to cognitive dysfunction.

Most experts agree that more research on this topic is needed to decide whether a link between gum problems and dementia can be determined with certainty. It also isn’t yet known if poor oral condition of healthy people can lead to dementia or if the bacteria functions only to make it worse in those who already have it.

What’s certain is that there is a growing list of conditions linked to poor oral health.

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