Research continues to link poor oral health and dementia
- Jun 7, 2017 7:54:00 AM
- in Health and Wellness
- by Prophix
June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month—wondering how this is connected to oral health care? Research continues to point to potential links between poor oral health (specifically, gum disease) and Alzheimer’s disease:
- A 2013 study discovered the gum-disease bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis in the brains of dementia sufferers.
- A 2016 study< found a link between gum disease and greater rates of cognitive decline in people with early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.
While it remains to be proven whether poor dental hygiene can directly lead to dementia, proper oral care and regular dental visits are paramount in preventing gum disease—as well as a host of other issues.
A confirmed fact is that people with dementia-related conditions like Alzheimer’s are at increased risk for oral health care problems, especially tooth decay and gum disease. Dementia patients may lose their ability to brush their teeth effectively or pay less attention to personal grooming. Medications may also complicate or interfere with their oral health.
Establishing safe, comfortable oral health routines for dementia patients is key. The Alzheimer’s Association has excellent caregiver tips for how to help maintain patients’ daily oral care, as well as how to find and work with a dentist.
Are you a dentist or oral hygienist? This article from DentistryIQ offers suggestions for treating patients with Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related conditions.