According to a study, gum disease is a trigger for dementia.
Poor oral health can lead to changes in the cells that protect the brain from amyloid plaque, researchers say.
Plaque is a type of protein that is linked to cell death and cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
US research sheds light on how oral bacteria get into the brain.
dr Alpdogan Kantarci of Boston University said, “If you don’t take care of oral inflammation and infection, you can’t really prevent systemic diseases like Alzheimer’s.”
“From one of our previous studies, we knew that inflammation associated with gum disease triggers an inflammatory response in the brain.
“In this study, we asked the question: can oral bacteria cause brain cell changes?”
Gum disease causes lesions to develop between the gums and teeth.
dr Kantarci said: “It’s an open sore that allows the bacteria in your mouth to enter your bloodstream and circulate to other parts of your body.
“Understanding how oral bacteria cause neuroinflammation will help us design much more targeted strategies.”
He added, “This study suggests that controlling the oral inflammation associated with periodontitis will be critical to preventing neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration.”
“The mouth is part of the body and unless you take care of oral inflammation and infection, you really can’t prevent systemic diseases like Alzheimer’s in a reproducible way.”
Gum disease is also linked to colon cancer and heart disease.