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The Link Between Alzheimer’s & Oral Health

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Poor Oral Health & the Risks of Alzheimer’s Disease

It’s well-documented that there is a link between your oral health and your overall health. In recent studies there is new information that shows a correlation between your oral health and the risk of developing dementia in its most common form — Alzheimer’s disease.

How Oral Bacteria Leads to Dementia

A recent study by NIA scientists showed that the bacteria that cause gum disease is associated with the development of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. There are multiple types of dementia, with Alzheimer’s accounting for 60–70% of all dementia cases.

Gum disease forms when plaque builds up on the teeth and turns into tartar, causing bacteria to begin growing in between your gums and teeth. If gum disease is addressed early, significant health consequences can be avoided.

However, if left untreated, a patient is left vulnerable to more serious health issues such as gum recession or tooth loss — causing bacteria to travel through the bloodstream towards the brain, replicating the exact characteristics of dementia.

Read More: Understanding the Various Stages of Gum Disease

Caring for an Alzheimer’s Patient’s Oral Health

Patients that have Alzheimer’s disease typically experience worsening oral health as their condition progresses. In the earlier stages of the disease, patients can often continue their daily routines — including brushing their teeth and getting to the dentist.

As their condition worsens and their cognitive function decreases, Alzheimer’s patients forget these routines that they may have had their entire life. This can have detrimental effects on their oral health and overall wellbeing.

Prevention is vital when it comes to caring for a patient with Alzheimer’s. If you or someone you love has dementia or Alzheimer’s, here is some information you can find from the Alzheimer’s Association that can help:

  • Offer short and simple directions.
  • Help brush their teeth at least twice a day.
  • Demonstrate how to brush properly.
  • Try different toothbrushes to see which works best.
  • Find the right dentist to care for their needs.
  • Stay aware of any discomfort or pain in the mouth.
  • Properly sanitize dentures.
  • Keep a record of recent dental appointments.

Enhanced Health Screenings to Care for Your Oral Health

At ProHEALTH Dental, our goal is to promote the connection between your overall health and proper oral health care, helping people of all ages live healthier lives.

Learn more about how our affiliations help us treat your overall health, and contact us to schedule your next dental appointment today: (855) 750-5011

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