Among seniors, Alzheimer's disease is the most well-known and most common type of dementia, a progressive brain disorder that causes memory to deteriorate and inhibits other essential mental functions. The disease typically starts with patients having mild confusion as well as trouble remembering before it progresses to them forgetting important people from their lives and under reasonable personality changes.
Something else of note is that, per a recently published study in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease , individuals with gum disease or obstetric oral hygiene could have an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers from England's University of Central Lancashire, led by Dr. St John Crean as well as Dr. Sim Singhrao, examined samples of brain tissue from ten dementia patients and ten non-dementia patients. The team found bacterial lipopolysaccharides, specifically those for gum disease, in samples from four dementia patients and none from non-dementia patients.
Because bacteria can pass into the bloodstream via regular activities-toothbrushing, eating, or chewing-they may be transported anywhere in the body, including the brain, once in the bloodstream.
The team hypothesized that once these bacteria enter the brain, a response from the immune system is triggered, such as within the mouth, and brain cells are destroyed. Such a response could lead to changes within the brain, as is characteristic of this condition. This may play a part in triggering symptoms like deteriorating memory and confusion.
Per Dr. Crean, “This new research indicates a possible association between gum disease and individuals who may be susceptible to developing Alzheimer's disease, if exposed to the appropriate trigger.
Research currently underway at UCLan is playing an active role in exploring this link, but it remains to be proven where poor dental hygiene can lead to dementia in healthy people, which obviously could have significant implications for the population as a whole. It is also likely that these bacteria could make the existing disease condition worse. ”
Given that this study was small and only examined brain tissue from 20 individuals, it is possible the link between this condition, gum disease, and poor oral hygiene discovered during this study happened just by chance.
It's also a possibility that individuals who have this condition also have poor oral hygiene compared to those who do not have the condition. Because of this, the bacteria found in this study's brain tissue samples could have been a difference rather than a cause. Further research is necessary for determining whether gum disease could increase a person's risk for Alzheimer's disease.