Those with high levels of tooth plaque have a great risk of cognitive decline, although cause and effect is not clear, according to the December 15 issue of the British Dental Journal.  The link of gum disease and Alzheimer’s (AD) may be oral bacteria.

Oral bacteria invade the brain, promote inflammation, increase permeability of blood brain barrier, and have been found in the brains of those with AD and blood clots in cerebrovascular disease.

A USC study of 10,000 people showed twins with AD four times more likely to have periodontal disease in middle age, and a 7 year study of 100,000 found the dental cleanings reduced stroke risk by 13%.

For those with AD, appropriate preventive/treatment should be instigated to minimize dental disease as soon as possible.

Schedule AD patients at times of best alertness, which is late morning and early afternoon. Ensure dentures are labelled, cleaned professionally on a regular basis, and relined and renewed as necessary.

AD patients should be seen by the dentist regularly to maintain status quo, avoid pain and minimize further interventions.

Ensure that fear, stress and embarrassment for the caregiver and the person with AD are minimized.

Feel free to consult your dentist if you have any questions regarding a loved one with AD.

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