New study suggests gum disease could elevate Alzheimer’s risk
A new study suggests that gum disease could elevate the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
The research, which has been published in the Science Advances journal, found that a specific strain of bacteria, P gingivalis, could have a part to play in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Stephen Dominy, lead author, said that past studies have suggested a link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s risk, but this is the first project to focus on causation. Mr Dominy claims that the findings of this latest study represent “solid evidence connecting Pg and Alzheimer’s pathogenesis.” The study also revealed that small molecule therapies could determine the “trajectory of the disease.” It is estimated that up to 45% of the adult population in the UK could be affected by symptoms of gum disease.
The British Dental Association has used the findings of the study to highlight the importance of good oral health and urged the Department of Health to introduce measures to put preventative dental care at the forefront of health policy-making.
The symptoms of gum disease include red and swollen gums, pain and tenderness in the gums, and bleeding when you brush. Gum disease is currently the leading cause of tooth loss in UK adults, but it is preventable. To lower the risk of gum disease, dentists recommend brushing twice-daily with fluoride toothpaste and having a routine check-up every 6-12 months.
Previous studies have linked gum disease to a host of other general health problems, including an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.