Periodontitis, or gum disease, has often been linked to other illnesses throughout the body. Some of these illnesses include diabetes and heart disease. Now a recent study has shown that periodontitis has a negative effect on those with Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible brain disorder that slowly destroys the memory and thinking skills of those affected by it. The disease usually shows up in people during their mid-60’s and is a main cause of dementia. While there are ways to manage the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, there is currently no cure.
Researchers from the University of Southampton and King’s College London recently carried out a study which showed that Alzheimer’s disease patients that also had gum disease had a higher rate of cognitive decline. This means that those patients that had gum disease saw their memory and thinking skills decline much faster than those with greater oral health.
Periodontitis is already common among older people and is even more common among those with Alzheimer’s disease as they forget to take care of their oral health leading to poor oral hygiene and eventually gum disease. The high levels of antibodies to periodontal bacteria increases the inflammation in the body which increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
The study that was conducted involved 59 participants who ranged from mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. They assessed their blood samples to measure inflammatory markers. Of the 59 patients that were examined, 52 returned for a follow-up six months later. For those that returned, they found that there was a cognitive decline that was six times greater in those with periodontal disease.
These results led the authors of the study to conclude that gum disease potentially causes greater cognitive decline and could be linked to inflammatory response. The results of this study built on the results of previous studies which indicated that chronic inflammatory conditions have a detrimental effect on the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Due to the fact that the study was only six months long, a relatively short period of time, more trials will be needed to further develop the results. However, if further studies do show that there is a relationship between periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s as the study suggests, that would mean that the treatment of gum disease may be a possible treatment option for Alzheimer’s disease.
Tips For Good Oral Hygiene in People with Dementia
The fact that people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease get more and more forgetful as the disease worsens, it becomes harder and harder for them to remember to brush and floss regularly as time goes on. Knowing this, there are some ways that you can help someone with dementia practice good oral hygiene even though they suffer from this debilitating disease.
If they are still in the early stages of the disease, they should perform their oral hygiene practice on their own as long as they still can, though reminders and supervision is acceptable. It’s also important that they establish a oral hygiene routine early on when they are first diagnosed with dementia. This will help them as the disease worsens. When the disease does get worse and the patient ceases to care or becomes more forgetful, guided instructions will be required to ensure that they follow through with proper oral care.
Indications of Oral Health Issues in Alzheimer’s Patients
If someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is struggling with oral health issues, there are indicators that will let you know there is a problem. Some of these include that they may refuse to eat hard or cold food, they frequently pull at their face or mouth, they’ll leave their dentures out of their mouth, increased restlessness, moaning or shouting, disturbed sleep, refusal to take part in activities, and aggressive behavior. By being aware of these signs and spotting oral hygiene issues early on, you may be able to lessen the risk of complications or the worsening of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Past studies have shown the periodontal disease has a negative effect on other illnesses in the body including diabetes and heart problems. A newer study has shown that periodontal disease can quicken the negative cognitive effects of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. This new information shows the importance of maintaining positive oral health. So if you’re showing signs of periodontal disease, come to Vero Implants and Periodontics to ensure your future health.