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The Correlation Between Gum Disease and Dementia

While research has indicated a connection for years, a recent study now finds an even stronger correlation between gum disease and dementia. According to this study, “gum disease has now been linked to a 70% increased risk of Alzheimer’s.”

But what does one have to do with the other?

Inflammatory Response to Gum Disease

Gum disease is a common dental health condition where the gums become infected and inflamed due to tartar buildup on the teeth. It can be prevented by brushing and flossing regularly to get rid of plaque – a sticky substance made up of bacteria and other particles in our mouth that adheres to our teeth.

When plaque is not removed, it can harden and become tartar, which can only be removed by a professional when they clean your teeth. It can be easy to forget about your regular dental appointments or get too busy to fit one in. However, when this tartar continues to build up, it causes gingivitis.

Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease. When caught in this stage, you can often reverse it with regular brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings. But left alone, it will lead to periodontitis where pockets begin to form in the gums the bacteria and inflammation starts to break down the bone and tissue often resulting in loss of teeth. In this stage, the inflammation can become chronic and start to cause disease in other areas of your body.

Is there a Link Between Gum Disease and Dementia?

More and more studies are linking the body’s chronic systemic inflammatory response to other conditions in the body such as heart disease, diabetes – and now dementia. The link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s is still being explored. It’s too early to determine the exact correlation. But, the risk of losing teeth alone is a good reason to keep up with your dental care!

Oral Screening for Gum Disease

Do you have gum disease? Gum disease is much easier to treat and less likely to contribute to other health conditions when caught early. What makes it so dangerous is that it is asymptomatic until it reaches a dangerous stage – where bone loss is imminent. It’s important to keep up with your regular dental exams and Xrays where the early onset of gum disease is more easily discovered. Contact us to set up an appointment for your next dental checkup today!