Research attempting to establish the connection between oral health and other medical conditions has made steady improvement and can now show links to several chronic medical conditions, proving the impact of good oral health on overall health. One of the newest areas of research concern the impact on dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease.
The study concluded that an inflammatory burden early in life, which could include periodontal disease, might have severe consequences later, potentially adding inflammatory processes such as periodontal disease to the list of preventable risk factors for periodontal disease.
A more recent study, suggests that another risk factor, bacteria (Treponema denticola, Tannerella forsythia, and Porphyromonas gingivalis and/or bacterial components) linked to periodontal disease, may play a role in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Although the results were not definitive, they were encouraging and confirm that LPS from periodontal bacteria are able to access and AD brain during life. The revelation that a known, oral pathogen is able to enter the bloodstream, finding its way to and residing in the brain suggests an inflammatory role in AD pathology. At this time, it is only an association and not a cause.
The exact cause of AD remains unknown. Alzheimer’s and periodontal disease appears more prolific as individual ages, which, with more time and research, could show a stronger connection rather than a simple association.
Reference: Inflammation linked to Alzheimer’s Disease, Gatz, M PhD et al.
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