Looking after your dental health can obviously benefit your teeth, but we have also known for some time that poor dental health can reduce fertility, increase risk of diabetes, and increase your risk of cardio vascular disease . Incredibly, simply flossing every day can add 6 years to your life!
Now, a new study from the University of Central Lancashire School of Medicine and Dentistry has also linked poor dental health with increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Researchers looked at donated brain samples of 10 people without dementia and 10 people with dementia. They found the bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis in the brains of four of those with dementia.
This bacteria may play a role in changes in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease, contributing to symptoms including confusion and failing memory. The theory is that when the brain is repeatedly exposed to bacteria and/or debris from our gums, subsequent immune responses may lead to nerve cell death and possibly memory loss.
It is likely that these bacteria could make any existing disease condition worse, but for now it remains to be proven whether poor dental hygiene can lead to dementia in healthy people.
This could mean that visits to the dentist could be vital for brain health.