How Oral Health Affects Risks of Alzheimer’s Disease

Elderly couple on jawbone

Gum disease occurs when the tissues responsible for supporting your teeth becoming infected, often as a result of poor oral hygiene. Within our mouths can be found over 700 species of bacteria, all waiting to find a niche in our mouths to flourish. Proper oral hygiene practices deprive them of this opportunity. While the risk to our oral health from gum disease is prominent, these bacteria have also been found to be connected to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. This fact just elevates the fact that oral health is important at all ages, especially in the elderly.

The transfer of oral bacteria through the bloodstream has been linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

How Dementia Symptoms Are Influenced By Oral Health

Alzheimer’s disease is the result of complex mechanisms affecting the body in often poorly understood ways. The result of the condition is a gradual decline in memory and behavior resulting from a steady decline in brain function. Studies such as those found in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease suggest that oral bacteria that travels through the bloodstream from the mouth to the brain can influence the effects of dementia over time. This research is supported by the presence of P. Gingivalis in the tissues of those who had died from Alzheimer’s and related complications. Those who have Alzheimer’s may also be more susceptible to oral health concerns due to:

  • Difficulty maintaining a consistent routine of dental hygiene

  • Remembering how to properly take care of their teeth and gums

  • Other health concerns impacting their oral health

The results of the study are compelling, but ongoing research is being done to determine a solid connection. These studies will often take the shape of follow-up reviews and studies seeking to counter these results. One factor that will be closely examined as part of these studies is the various factors affecting the lives of those with Alzheimer’s and how these factors impact their oral health.

What Dentists Can Do To Help Alzheimer Patients

Dentists who work with patients who are older, either through local families or community groups, often have methods in place to aid those with Alzheimer’s. The following options are usually available at these practitioners:

  • Special scheduling options to help ease tracking of their oral health care and to provide assistance during their appointments.

  • Customizable dental options that help improve access to dental services and effective treatment of severe dental issues.

  • Additional preventative services tailored to the special needs of Alzheimer’s patients, including long-term solutions that fit in with their treatment options.

  • Positive communication experiences couched in approachable, friendly tones and aimed and strengthening the bond between dentist and patient.

  • Proactive options for Alzheimer’s patients that will help relieve struggles with their condition while providing the best possible oral care.

If you or a person you love is facing Alzheimer’s and you’re seeking oral health options for them, contact our offices today. We’ll schedule a consultation to go over your concerns and find appropriate options for our patient.

Alireza Movassaghi, D.D.S and Other Dentist Dr. Alireza Movassaghi brings 30 years of experience to the practice at Alvarado Family Dental Center. As a graduate of the USC School of Dentistry, he works tirelessly to expand access to dental care throughout the Los Angeles area. Along with his passion for expert dental care, he exhibits a love of soccer and beautiful cars.
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