Could Gum Disease Increase Your Risk of Dementia?

Alzheimer’s disease is among the diagnoses that people most want to avoid. The idea of gradually remembering less and less about who you are and the life you’ve lived isn’t appealing to anyone.

But a new method of preventing dementia might surprise you: brushing your teeth.

Dr. David Blaustein and the team here at Chelsea Dental Aesthetics in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City are experts in preventing gum disease. Here’s why we think that strategy just might increase your chances of living with mental clarity for the rest of your life.

Can gum disease lead to dementia?

According to a couple of recent studies, the answer may be yes. In one study, researchers found bacteria associated with chronic gum disease in the brains of people who had Alzheimer’s disease. In a separate study, researchers found a link between severe gum disease and dementia. 

Whether gum disease bacteria actually trigger dementia still isn’t clear, but a correlation has been established — enough so that you should think about altering your behavior. 

How can you prevent gum disease?

Knowing this, Dr. Blaustein recommends that you do everything you can to avoid getting gum disease in the first place. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, occurs when your gums become red and irritated thanks to bacteria in the plaque that forms on your teeth. If left untreated, the inflammation can build up and your gums might recede, causing your teeth to become loose.

If the inflammation and bacteria spread throughout your body, they can begin to cause other health problems. Gum disease has also been linked to other major conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

To keep your teeth healthy and prevent gum disease in the first place, there are a few things you can do:

Brush your teeth at least twice a day

This gets rid of the food and plaque that builds up on your teeth and gums.

Floss your teeth at least once a day

Dental floss can often reach bits of food and plaque that your toothbrush can’t reach. We know you don’t want to floss — do it anyway!

Get regular dental cleanings and checkups

You should visit your dentist every six months. This time frame allows your dentist to catch any small problems — like the beginnings of gum disease — before they become big problems.

Use a therapeutic mouthwash

This also helps reduce plaque and decrease gum problems. Bonus: Your breath will be fresher.

If you want to minimize your risk of getting dementia, take care of your teeth, as odd as it sounds. Research is already showing links between gum disease and dementia, and future research may show an even stronger correlation.

If you have questions about gum disease or just need a good cleaning to get you back on track, contact Chelsea Dental Aesthetics in New York City. Call today or book your appointment online.

You’ll be ready to take on the world knowing that your mouth is as healthy as it can be!

 

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