As we age there are many things doctors and scientists recommend for staying mentally sharp. Whether that’s playing mentally stimulating games, experiencing novelty by taking a new way to work or the grocery store or simply staying physically active. However, according to new research there may be yet another contributing factor to the development of Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease: gum disease or Periodontitis. One more support for the importance of regular appointments with your local dentist Prescott Dentistry.
Researchers and dental hygienists teamed up in this study out of the University of Southampton and King’s College London to examine the oral health of 59 seniors. These participants were then evaluated again half a year later and the findings were astounding. Those who had symptoms of gum disease experienced a rate of cognitive decline six times higher than those who did not. Gum disease is common in the elderly, and dementia only amplifies the problem due to the increasing difficulty of maintaining oral care when suffering from this disease. The authors of the study believe the inflammatory response triggered by gum disease may be the reason behind the increased cognitive decline.
The findings suggested that potential treatment options for Alzheimer’s may include treatment of Periodontitis. However, just as other previous studies have linked the development of Dementia to having fewer teeth, it is still not clear whether gum disease is the cause or an effect of the cognitive decline.
If you’ve reached those retirement years and have neglected your oral health, now is the time to act! Schedule an appointment with Prescott Dentistry to have your gums examined and a nice thorough cleaning.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (6/2/2016) Mr TGT (Flickr)