Have you ever suffered from gum disease? Chances are, you have.
The initial phase of gum disease, referred to as “gingivitis”, causes the gums to bleed with flossing or brushing. This can luckily be treated and reversed with good oral hygiene habits.
But if this early stage of gum disease progresses without intervention, it advances to “periodontitis” – the irreversible and final stage where the teeth are at risk for becoming loose and falling out.
In a recent study conducted by Casey Lynch and colleagues of Cortexyme, a pharmaceutical firm in San Francisco, the P.gingivalis gum disease was given to mice and actually led to brain infection and neural damage in Alzheimer’s-specific brain regions – suggesting that this gum disease bacteria played a role in causing this form of dementia in humans.
But there’s still a lot that we don’t know, such as how P.gingivalis makes its way into the brain, and we still need a better understanding of how strong this link is.
“Future studies need to be in humans to be convincing”, says Robert Genco of the University at Buffalo, New York.
It’s easy to keep your teeth and gums healthy with proper daily oral hygiene care. By brushing twice a day for two full minutes each session, as well as flossing once daily, you can protect your smile from the early stage of gum disease, while also helping to protect your teeth from decay.
In addition to at-home care, don’t forget to schedule regular (recommended every 6 months) appointments with the dentist and hygienist for a check-up and cleaning. Patients with already advanced gum disease will require a more intensive cleaning treatment to restore the health of the gums, as well as a gum tissue grafting procedure if the level of gum recession is severe.
It’s also important to eat a balanced diet rich in all essential vitamins and nutrients, and limit your intake of sugary or processed foods and beverages.
Taking the right steps to maintain a healthy smile will also aid in keeping your body healthy – and, may potentially play a key role in helping to protect you from Alzheimer’s.
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