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. A recent study set out to determine whether gum disease is associated with increased dementia severity and greater progression of cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
The presence of gum disease 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. The authors concluded that gum disease is associated with an increase in cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s Disease.
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 dementia the worse the dental health, most likely reflecting greater difficulties with taking care of oneself as dementia becomes more severe.
Other studies have come to the same or a similar conclusion. Multiple theories abound as to the cause of Alzheimer’s but this study really stood out as significant. Even if not related to Alzheimer’s or mental decline, your teeth are something you should think about and if necessary, do something about.
LET’S GET PERSONAL HERE
Let’s get personal here. Do you brush your teeth every day? Do you floss? When was the last time you had your teeth professionally cleaned? Do your gums bleed? Infected bleeding gums send bacteria all over the body and may cause various “old people” aches and pains that seem to have no known origin.
Let’s get even more personal. If you look older than you are, and your teeth look bad, when was the last time, (if a woman), a man kissed you or you kissed him on the mouth? I can tell you — if your teeth are yellow, brown, missing or decayed, or causing bad breath, your chances for romance are limited. Who wants to kiss a mouth that looks (and is) unhealthy? We can’t escape the ravages of old age but we can brighten up and “youthify” an old face with a dazzling smile and look and feel years younger. And guess what — braces for old folks are wonderful, especially Invisaligns which are painless and no one will know you are wearing them.
Yes, I know. I hear you saying that you can’t afford a dental makeover. Restoring a healthy smile can be very expensive and insurance most likely will not pay for what you need. What to do? Many men (and women) have assets they can sell such as an antique car or Grandma’s antique silver tea service that is regularly polished but never used. Sell the “stuff” that is not needed but has value. You can’t take it with you and because your kids may not understand the value of your treasures, after you are gone they will sell them (give away) in a garage sale. If you watch “Antiques Road Show” on PBS you will see how often someone paid very little for a very valuable item found in a garage sale.
So if you can get the money to improve your life ‘here and now ” not only will you look so much better, but chances are you will feel better too. Go ahead. Do all you can do to avoid Alzheimer’s and have a healthy mind and body and a great smile. Do it even if friends and family try to dissuade you with “you are too old”. You are NOT too old. You need it and deserve it!!
Article Summary: Researchers are reporting new findings on how bacteria involved in gum disease can travel throughout the body, exuding toxins connected with Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and aspiration pneumonia. They detected evidence of the bacteria in brain samples from people with Alzheimer’s and used mice to show that the bacterium can find its way from the mouth to the brain.