The sixth leading cause of death in the US is Alzheimer Disease (AD) and it is more prevalent as people age. According to an article published in the Journal of Oral Microbiology, one of the causes of AD may be traceable to oral infection.
AD is characterized by inflammation of the brain. This article reported on 200 studies examining the link between infections in the mouth and inflammation of the brain. These studies point to “germs” in the mouth as a possible cause of AD. Various groups of bacteria, including fungus and viruses from the oral cavity, can find their way into the bloodstream and penetrate the blood-brain barrier. Their action in the brain can instigate brain inflammation. Microbes from gum disease are particularly suspected of being likely causes of brain inflammation.
These articles pointed out that oral infections, especially fungal infections, among the elderly have dramatically increased in the last thirty years. Fungi can be found in gum pockets, root canals and under dentures. Protein DNA and protein have been found in the brain tissue of AD patients. Although oral infection is one of many factors in the development of AD, this article raises the possibility that oral infection increases systemic inflammation, which in turn may predict the onset of dementia.
Thus it is important for people of all ages to maintain good oral health. Oral bacteria may play a role in the onset of AD, even decades before the symptoms of AD develop. It is recommended that everyone develop good dental hygiene habits and receive dental care, especially gum care, on a regular basis.
If you would like more information about Alzheimer Disease, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.
Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.