June 23, 2023
Did you know the mouth is the gateway to the body? Oral and general health are closely connected. Many dental issues are associated with several medical problems, including cardiovascular disease, nutritional deficiencies, and diabetic complications. Recent studies have found a link between gum disease and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Here’s why healthy gums are more important than ever before.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a preventable infection caused by bacteria found in tartar buildup from poor oral hygiene. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that at least 50% of adults have gum disease, making it a leading cause of tooth loss. The infection destroys the supporting structures of your teeth and underlying phone.
With no treatment, bacteria responsible for gum disease can enter the bloodstream. As it circulates throughout the body, it wreaks havoc on a person’s health. Gum disease is connected to many serious health issues, like an increased risk of heart attack, respiratory illness, preterm delivery, and diabetic complications.
Link Between Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease
A study published in the Journal Science Advances found that the brain tissues of deceased Alzheimer’s disease patients tested positive for one of the main pathogens responsible for gum disease. They also found that a toxic enzyme appeared in tissue samples, called gingipains. Brains with more gingipains had elevated proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease, called tau and ubiquitin.
Additional studies have found that animals with infected gums have the same bacteria in their brains. Animal studies also connected oral bacteria with damaged neurons and more plaque.
Keep Your Gums Healthy
Brushing alone won’t keep your gums healthy because your toothbrush can’t reach everywhere in your mouth. 40% of your teeth surfaces can be unclean if you aren’t flossing every day. Flossing removes plaque and food particles from between your teeth and around the gum line. Finish your oral hygiene routine with an antimicrobial mouthwash to kill any bacteria lingering in your mouth.
Don’t smoke or drink a lot of alcohol because both can increase your risk of gum disease. Visit your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and checkup. They’ll examine your gums to look for any signs of infection, like inflammation or redness. If you develop any symptoms of gum disease between your regular appointments, don’t wait to see your dentist.
About Dr. Luciano Marini
Dr. Marini earned his dental degree at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine and has regularly pursued advanced education to provide many specialties, like preventive care and gum disease therapy. He is affiliated with many professional organizations, including the American Dental Association. If you have any signs of gum disease, request an appointment through our website or call (203) 575-9097.
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