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The study wanted to determine if periodontitis played a role in dementia severity and progression.

A new study jointly led by the University of Southampton and King’s College London has found a link between gum disease and greater rates of cognitive decline in people with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Periodontitis or gum disease is common in older people and may become more common in Alzheimer’s disease because of a reduced ability to take care of oral hygiene as the disease progresses. Higher levels of antibodies to periodontal bacteria are associated with an increase in levels of inflammatory molecules elsewhere in the body, which in turn has been linked to greater rates of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease in previous studies.

The latest study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, set out to determine whether periodontitis or gum disease is associated with increased dementia severity and subsequent greater progression of cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

In the observational study, 59 participants with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease were cognitively assessed and a blood sample was taken to measure inflammatory markers in their blood. A dental hygienist who was blind to cognitive outcomes assessed participants’ dental health. The majority of participants (52) were followed-up at six months when all assessments were repeated.

The presence of gum disease at baseline was associated with a six-fold increase in the rate of cognitive decline in participants over the six-month follow-up period of the study. Periodontitis at baseline was also associated with a relative increase in the pro-inflammatory state over the six-month follow-up period. The authors conclude that gum disease is associated with an increase in cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease, possibly via mechanisms linked to the body’s inflammatory response.

Limitations of the study included the small number of participants; the authors advise that the study should be replicated ideally with a larger cohort. The precise mechanisms by which gum disease may be linked to cognitive decline are not fully clear and other factors might also play a part in the decline seen in participants’ cognition alongside their oral health.

However, growing evidence from a number of studies links the body’s inflammatory response to increased rates of cognitive decline, suggesting that it would be worth exploring whether the treatment of gum disease might also benefit the treatment of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Professor Clive Holmes, senior author from the University of Southampton, says: “These are very interesting results which build on previous work we have done that shows that chronic inflammatory conditions have a detrimental effect on disease progression in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Our study was small and lasted for six months so further trials need to be carried out to develop these results. However, if there is a direct relationship between periodontitis and cognitive decline, as this current study suggests, then treatment of gum disease might be a possible treatment option for Alzheimer’s.”

Dr. Mark Ide, first author from the Dental Institute at King’s College London says: “Gum disease is widespread in the UK and US, and in older age groups is thought to be a major cause of tooth loss. In the UK in 2009, around 80 percent of adults over 55 had evidence of gum disease, whilst 40 percent of adults aged over 65-74 (and 60 percent of those aged over 75) had less than 21 of their original 32 teeth, with half of them reporting gum disease before they lost teeth.

“A number of studies have shown that having few teeth, possibly as a consequence of earlier gum disease, is associated with a greater risk of developing dementia. We also believe, based on various research findings, that the presence of teeth with active gum disease results in higher body-wide levels of the sorts of inflammatory molecules which have also been associated with an elevated risk of other outcomes such as cognitive decline or cardiovascular disease. Research has suggested that effective gum treatment can reduce the levels of these molecules closer to that seen in a healthy state.

“Previous studies have also shown that patients with Alzheimer’s disease have poorer dental health than others of similar age and that the more severe the dementia the worse the dental health, most likely reflecting greater difficulties with taking care of oneself as dementia becomes more severe.”

The full study, “Periodontitis and cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease,” was published in PLOS ONE. This research in its present form was reprinted from Dental Products Report.
Categories: Dental health,Dental Information,Gum Disease
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Posted on Tuesday 12th April 2016 at 8:39 am

Extend Your Life Span By Flossing Your Teeth

Post by: Stockholm Dental Clinic on 25 Jan 2013

Christmas is a memory and New Year´s resolutions are fast diminishing their importance as 2013 sees the near end of its first month. Many of our good intentions are quickly flying out the window as time slips by as if it were collecting triple air miles on some exclusive airline. Where is January going? And why is it travelling so quickly?

If one of those resolutions you made with very good intentions was to floss daily, then that is one resolution to keep. If though, you seem to be finding every excuse under the sun not to floss, then I am sure we have heard them all and we can also give you a way around them all.

Do you say that your gums bleed when they floss? Chances are you have gingivitis, something for which you really need to be flossing, or maybe you have the floss too long and it is snapping between the teeth instead of you guiding it with a shorter piece. If you say that the floss shreds when you floss perhaps you have a broken tooth or you have an ill fitting crown. Then you need to see your dentist. If you feel you don´t have time to floss then think of it as part of your daily hygiene. You wash your face and brush your teeth before getting into bed, then add an extra 1-2 min for flossing. What will you do with the 1-2 min you saved otherwise? If you don´t think that food gets between your teeth then you are mistaken, unless your teeth are so spaced that you can see between them. As your tooth brush doesn’t get between the teeth then you need to floss. The micro particles left after eating and drinking need to be flossed away as otherwise they become plaque. Plaque is what causes tooth decay over time, or inflamed gums or periodontal disease.

There are a host of other excuses people use for not flossing, but if research from the prestigious Emory University is to be believed then, “Periodontal disease is a serious health problem that is not just isolated to the mouth and gums,” says Dr. Steven M. Roser. “It can become a portal for infection to enter the body and cause other serious health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. It has also been proven to affect pregnancy, increasing the risk of low birth weight similar to that of smoking.” And if that is still not enough then, Michael F. Roizen MD states in his book “New Age” that “flossing can add 6.4 years to your life”.

Now what do you think of that extra minute?

Categories: Dental Information
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Posted on Friday 25th January 2013 at 12:40 pm