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Chronic periodontitis has been associated with several systemic diseases including Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Education and Science has helped paved the way for new improvements and care

Alzheimer’s Disease and Periodontitis

Recently, chronic periodontitis has been associated with several systemic diseases including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Studies suggest that peripheral infection/inflammation might affect the inflammatory state of the central nervous system. Inflammation within the brain is thought to play a pivotal role.

Chronic periodontitis is a prevalent peripheral infection that is associated with gram-negative anaerobic bacteria and the elevation of serum inflammatory markers including C-reactive protein. Research has identified several potential mechanisms through which chronic periodontitis can contribute to the clinical onset and progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Further studies have shown that people with cognitive impairment have poor dental health. Because chronic periodontitis is a treatable infection, early detection, and consistent oral hygiene is suggested.

According to Dr. Pamela McClain, President of the American Academy of Periodontology and a practicing periodontist in Aurora, Colorado, “If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss and may also interfere with other systems of the body. Several research studies have indicated that one’s periodontal health may be related to overall health. Therefore, it is crucial that you do everything you can to establish good periodontal health.”

Studies about Periodontitis have shown…

A Recent study has found a link between gum disease and 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.

Dr. Mark Ide from the Dental Institute at King’s College London who authored the study wrote:

“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..”

Read more at sciencedaily.com

COPD and Pneumonia have been related to periodontitis issues. Education and Science helps resolve these problems

Pneumonia, COPD, and Oral Hygiene

Several recent studies provide evidence that the oral cavity may influence the initiation and/or the progression of lung diseases such as pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Studies have shown that poor oral hygiene and periodontal disease may foster colonization of the oropharyngeal region by respiratory pathogens, particularly in hospital or nursing home patients. If aspirated, these pathogens can cause pneumonia.

One study included 200 participants between the ages of 20 and 60 with at least 20 natural teeth. Half of the participants were hospitalized patients with a respiratory disease such as pneumonia, COPD, or acute bronchitis, and the other half were healthy control subjects with no history of respiratory disease. Each participant underwent a comprehensive oral evaluation to measure periodontal health status.

The study found that patients with respiratory diseases had worse periodontal health than the control group, suggesting a relationship between respiratory disease and periodontal disease. Researchers suspect that the presence of oral pathogens associated with periodontal disease may increase a patient’s risk of developing or exacerbating respiratory disease. However, the study authors note that additional studies are needed to more conclusively understand this link.

Pneumonia is one of the most common respiratory infections, especially in long-term care facilities. However, the state of oral cleanliness in such patients tends to be poor, and despite the existence of guidelines, nursing care practices may be inadequate and not reflective of recent advances in knowledge. Interventions must be provided to improve oral hygiene and reduce the rate of pneumonia in high-risk populations. The importance of routine oral care is imperative in helping prevent periodontal disease. Brushing, flossing and routine check-ups with your hygienist are the best preventative care for periodontitis along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Read more about the study and how Healthy Gums May Lead to Healthy Lungs at Perio.org