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Gum Disease and Alzheimer's

There is no way to prevent Alzheimer's disease. One-third of the population over 85 years old will have Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia. It is projected by 2050 there will be 7 million cases due to the aging baby boomers. Chronic inflammation such as diabetes, smoking, alcohol abuse, air pollution and gum disease are all thought to play a role in Alzheimer's disease. There is no single cause of dementia. Dementia is the impaired ability to remember, think or make decisions. From Time magazine, February 23, 2004: "Perhaps a long-running bacterial infection like gum disease keeps the internal fires burning and tips the balance towards chronic inflammation."

Gum disease bacteria have figured out ways to overcome the blood/brain barrier. This chronic brain inflammation caused by the periodontal bacteria leads to atrophy or shrinkage of the brain tissue due to cell loss. Did you know the amount of bacteria in moderate periodontal disease would fit in an adult's palm? This is about 1% of your total body surface.

Palm of a hand
Close up of teeth and gums

The worse your periodontal disease is, the greater your chance of developing Alzheimer's disease. 42% of adults over 30 years old have periodontitis. 60% of adults over 65 years old have periodontitis.

Professional and self-care is essential for both oral health and general health, too. The treatment of choice for patients with chronic periodontitis is scaling and root planing. A routine prophylaxis is not sufficient to manage the chronic inflammation. Severe periodontal problems will need the help of a periodontist or gum specialist to return the mouth and body to a healthy state.

Packaged Oral-B Vitality toothbrush
Package of WaterPik water flosser

Self-care is using the products Dr. Hart recommends to her patients. A rechargeable toothbrush-not a battery operated one-does a much better job than a manual brush in cleaning your teeth. WaterPik products such as the Water flosser or the Sonic-fusion toothbrush are excellent products replacing manual flossing. She knows and uses these products herself.

 WaterPik Sonic Fusion flossing toothbrush
Inflammation related diseases are the cause of 50% of all deaths worldwide. Gum disease is one that can be identified early, prevented and treated.
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