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Individuals with Bad Oral Hygiene Could be at Higher Risk for Dementia and Alzheimer’s


 Senior man brushing his teeth


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Good oral hygiene is important to overall health and well-being; inadequate dental care can cause discomfort, tooth loss, and decreased self-esteem. A lesser known complication of poor oral hygiene is that it may actually contribute to the onset of dementia and other diseases including Alzheimer’s. How individuals with bad oral hygiene could be at higher risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s is a health care concern that should be on the radar of healthcare professionals, and the friends and family of people at risk for the disease.

2013 United Kingdom Study

In July of 2013, researchers at the University of Central Lancashire School of Medicine and Dentistry in the United Kingdom published the results of a study comparing brain samples of 10 people who had Alzheimer’s to samples from individuals who did not. Bacteria linked to chronic gum disease were found in the samples that came from the people who had Alzheimer’s. These findings have led to increased scrutiny about poor dental care being a possible factor in the development of dementia.

Bacteria and the Brain

Bacteria in the mouth can readily enter the blood stream through common activities such as eating and brushing teeth. Someone who does not have access to good dental care is more likely to have a greater build-up of these bacteria. If these bacteria from the mouth travel to the brain via the blood stream, an immune system response could be triggered that results in the release of chemicals for the purpose of destroying the bacteria. According to the researchers, the repetition of this cycle could result in symptoms consistent with dementia, including loss of memory and disorientation.

Dental Care for People with Dementia

The nature of a disease like dementia can make it difficult for people who have it to properly care for their teeth. Early on, they will probably be able to still brush their teeth, but may need to be reminded to do so. As the disease progresses, using an electric toothbrush can be a way for them to continue caring for their teeth themselves. Toothpaste with a high concentration of fluoride can be a good product to incorporate into an oral hygiene regimen, as it can provide some protection on the days when teeth don’t get brushed. As time passes, people with dementia may become unable to clean their teeth or simply lose the will to do so, and a caretaker may need to take over the task.

There is a tremendous desire to identify a cause for dementia. The discovery of evidence that suggests there may be a connection between the disease and poor oral hygiene may be helpful in developing a cure.

Comprehensive Mobile Dental Care makes sure that loved ones’ dental needs are restored by providing a mobile dentistry to those who have difficulty traveling to the traditional dentist office. Geriatric dental care and mobile dental care is the main focus and a full range of dental services are always offered to patients. For more information on Comprehensive Mobile Dental Care, go to http://www.inhomedentalcare.com/.

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