Round Lake Beach 847-546-5550 2 E Rollins Rd, Suite 202, Round Lake Beach, IL 60073

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Oral Health and Dementia: What’s the Link?

It may be surprising to hear, but there is indeed a connection between the bacteria found in your mouth and the possibility of developing dementia. Poor oral health due to tooth decay or gum disease can increase one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Your mouth hosts up to 700 different types of bacteria, one of the most common of which is Porphyromonas gingivalis. This is the microorganism often responsible for gum disease. Recent studies show there is a high chance that this bacteria may manufacture beta-amyloid protein plaques. These plaques are associated with Alzheimer’s disease and are known as the central cause of dementia.

scrabble board spelling out dementia

Tooth Decay and Dementia In Older Adults

Gum disease is a major source of tooth decay, and when rotted teeth must be removed, there is an increased chance of it affecting a patient’s cognitive function. More specifically, when all of a person’s teeth have fallen out, they have an approximately 40% higher risk of dementia.

Because tooth loss can make chewing difficult, limiting certain foods from your diet can lead to nutrient deficiencies, which directly affect brain health. However, using dentures to cover the exposed holes in their gums can help prevent these deficiencies, which would lead to dementia.

Gum disease

Another potential cause of dementia is gum disease. The bacteria from a gum infection can enter the bloodstream and travel through the body and into the brain. Good oral hygiene habits at home and routine six-month checkups can help prevent this scenario.

Avoiding Tooth Loss and Cognitive Dysfunction

In addition to avoiding a poor oral hygiene routine, it’s important to see a dental health professional for routine cleanings and exams. Regular dental care means that this health care professional can identify problems that can carry an increased risk of cognitive impairment like dementia.

To reduce your risk factors for cognitive impairment and dementia due to poor oral health, we invite you to schedule a  dental exam and cleaning with Reilly & Siegel Family Dental.


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