So what is dementia? Dementia is an overall term for a set of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. Symptoms may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language, severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. A person with dementia may also experience changes in mood or behaviour.
Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms will gradually get worse as more brain cells become damaged and eventually die.
Poor dental health and gum disease may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Although past studies have suggested a link between oral health and dementia, this is the first time, they discovered a specific gum disease bacteria in the brain.
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. Everyday activities like eating and tooth brushing, and some dental treatment, could allow the bacteria to enter the brain. This could mean that visits to the dentist could be vital for brain health. “The future of the research aims to discover if P. gingivalis can be used as a marker, via a simple blood test, to predict the development of Alzheimer’s disease in at-risk patients.”
If you worry that you might have dementia or you have been diagnosed with it, getting a timely diagnosis can help you access information, resources and support through the Alzheimer Society, benefit from treatment, and plan ahead. You can always call us and get your free consultation any time if you worry about gingivitis or any other dental problems you might have! Don’t forget to visit our website too! 🙂