Report: Dental bacteria linked to Alzheimer's
SUMMARY: Anaerobic bacteria has been a suspected culprit in diseases like Alzheimer's, and new research shows closer association between the two.
Posted: July 30, 2013
According to research recently released in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, a new study may have found that oral health is in fact linked to the disease. Signs of bacteria known as Porphyromonas gingivalis were found in the brain tissue of four out of 10 samples from Alzheimer's patients. However, no signs of the bacteria were collected from the tissue of 10 patients who were of similar age, but never developed any form of dementia. Some scientists have been working to prove that a large amount of anaerobic bacteria in the mouth can lead to Alzheimer's because the bacteria travel through the blood stream and into other areas of the body. Researchers believe the same is true with conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
The findings reported in the journal support the idea that bacteria travel throughout the bloodstream and can, over time, produce chemicals that could contribute to Alzheimer's. While some argue that brushing and flossing can release bacteria into the bloodstream because it loosens it up, experts argue that there is more good to these practices than bad. Regularly cleaning and flossing the teeth stops the accumulation of bacteria and reduces dental plaque buildup.
"The results are very encouraging. We've shown an association, not causation. It does nothing more than to prove that these bacteria do get to the brain," St?John Crean, the lead researcher and dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Central Lancashire in England told Bloomberg. "The issue is to reduce the bacterial load that occupies our gum tissues, to reduce the bacterial assault if and when it happens."
Gum disease affects roughly 30 percent of people at some point in their lives, which is caused by poor brushing and eating habits. The accumulation of anaerobic bacteria weakens the gums by promoting dental plaque buildup, which inevitably leads to tartar and tooth decay. Dental experts urge people to take proper care of the mouth to maintain a healthy smile and avoid irritating other parts of the body. If you're unaware if you have too much bacteria in the mouth, take note of bad breath, as it is a prime indicator.