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Brush your teeth to prevent Alzheimer's

The link between Alzheimer's and gum disease

Regular tooth brushing could slow down the progress of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a recent article in The Daily Telegraph by science editor Sarah Knapton. And yes, you guessed it, it’s all down to the nasty effects of gum disease.

Patients who contracted Alzheimer's and who were already suffering from gum disease declined six times faster than those with good oral hygiene. Because periodontitis is already common in the older generation, it can get even worse for dementia patients who struggle to maintain basic oral hygiene.

The study carried out by King’s College London and the University of Southampton followed 59 people with mild to moderate dementia for 6 months, monitoring the state of their gums at the same time. Those who had gum disease before the start of the study declined 6 times faster than those with a healthy mouth.

Gum disease and dementia - The stats

There are 850,000 people living with dementia in Britain, a number which is likely to rise to one million by 2025. Coupled with the fact that in 2009 around 80% of adults over 55 showed evidence of gum disease, it is a study that one should not take lightly. Dr Mark Ide of the Dental Institute at King’s College stated that “a number of studies have shown that having few teeth, possibly as a consequence of earlier gum disease is associated with a greater risk of developing dementia. Previous studies have also suggested that the presence of active gum disease leads to higher levels across the whole body of inflammatory molecules which have been linked to a greater risk of cognitive decline". “Research has suggested that effective gum treatment can reduce the levels of these molecules closer to that seen in a healthy state”, he concluded.

Good oral hygiene can definitely help you live longer and enjoy a better quality of life in your latter years. Find out more about how to care for your gums.

Chrissy Still
Chrissy Still
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