Brush Your Teeth – Postpone Alzheimer's
Oral Health and Oral Hygiene
As scary as it sounds, research has shown that you can protect yourself from Alzheimer’s disease if you brush your teeth regularly and the vice versa is also true. Before you rush to pick a toothbrush and vigorously brush your teeth, let’s take a look at the facts.
Alzheimer’s disease is a mental disorder that causes brain cells to degenerate or waste away and die. The disease is the most common cause of dementia, a continuous decline in thinking, social, and behavioral skills disrupting a person’s ability to think and function independently.
Scientists have determined that gum disease plays a key role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The scientists also discovered that the bacteria that cause gum disease (gingivitis) is capable of moving from the mouth to the brain. When it gets to the brain, the bacteria produce a protein that destroys nerve cells in the brain, which leads to loss of memory and Alzheimer’s.
Gum disease, according to the scientists, increases mental decline by up to six times. Gum disease is common in older people who often have a hard time maintaining their oral hygiene.
The Groundbreaking Research
Scientists researched by analyzing brain tissue, saliva, and spinal fluid from living and dead patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
The study which was published in the Sciences Advances Journal found the bacteria associated with gum disease in the brain of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Further tests done on mice, confirmed that the bacteria travels from the mouth to the brain. The tests also showed that the bacteria produce a toxic protein called gingipain that destroyed brain neurons.
Some scientists criticized the tests done on mice but let’s face it, no way the first trials were going to be done on humans.
The bacteria also increased the production of amyloid beta in the brain, which is a component of amyloid plaques that are commonly linked to Alzheimer’s.
Another research by the King’s College London together with the University of Southampton tracked patients diagnosed with mild to moderate dementia for six months. During this period, they monitored the state of their gums as well as their mental state.
Those with gum disease had a mental decline six times faster than those who had healthy teeth.
Gum disease can only be controlled through regular mouthwash treatments and brushing. The researchers suggested that maintaining good oral hygiene could be an easy way of lessening the impact of Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly. The authors of these two studies concluded there is evidence that the presence of porphyromonas gingivitis and gingipains in the brain play a pivotal role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. This provides a new conceptual framework for the treatment of AD.
Does the Research Suggest New Treatment Options for Alzheimer’s?
As we speak, Alzheimer is incurable and it’s a progressive disease. There are however treatments used to slow down the development of the disease as well as the symptoms.
The above studies indicate there are possible new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Good news for everyone! The direct link between gum disease and the mental decline indicates that the treatment of gum disease is a viable option for the treatment of Alzheimer’s.
Piotr Mydel is one of the researchers in one of the studies. According to him, the knowledge of this research gives scientists a new approach to attack Alzheimer’s disease.
Piotr says they have managed to develop a drug based on the DNA evidence of people with Alzheimer’s disease. The drug blocks the harmful enzymes excreted by the bacteria in gum disease, which in turn delays the development of Alzheimer’s. The drug has not been tested yet, but it is an achievement that is hoped to be a success during trials.
The War Against Dementia Takes a New Turn
Studies have now shown that patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease have poorer dental hygiene than others of the same age. The more severe the dementia is in these people, the worse their dental health. This reflects the great difficulties with taking care of themselves as dementia becomes severe.
Ninety-six percent of the people with the disease showed the presence of the harmful enzymes excreted by the bacteria in the brain.
Maintaining good oral hygiene prevents the development of gum disease. It also prevents the development of Alzheimer’s Disease, which is worsened by the presence of bacteria from gum disease traveling from the mouth to the brain.
As per the research and these findings, the treatment or prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease can now be achieved. The researchers say that these studies conclude that good oral health should be a higher priority and especially in the elderly.
For long, people have been getting attacks from Alzheimer’s disease with no or little defense. It’s a high time scientists backed the above research and give patients some ammo to fight the mental decline.