Increased Risk of Dementia Due to Gum Disease

Gum (periodontal) disease has been linked to seemingly unrelated systemic (of the body) diseases and conditions including heart and kidney disease, cancer, erectile dysfunction, diabetes and osteoporosis. Recently, researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health conducted a long-term study with the result pointing to a link between periodontal (severe gum) disease and cognitive impairment and dementia.

The researchers studied more than 8,000 subjects with an average age of 63 for approximately 20 years. The subjects did not exhibit signs of dementia when the study began.

Some key findings:

  • The data showed that patients who were totally edentulous (no teeth) had twice the risk of cognitive impairment or dementia compared to those with healthy teeth and gums
  • 19% of individuals (1,569 subjects) developed dementia
  • Individuals with intermediate-to-severe gum disease had a 20% greater risk of developing cognitive impairment compared to the healthy group

Similar Research

Other studies have pointed to a relationship between the accumulation of plaques of beta-amyloid protein (as seen in Alzheimer’s patients) with gum infection. And additional research has noted the key bacteria that causes gum disease—Porphyromonas gingivalis—as a possible root cause of Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia.

Avoiding Gum Disease

While occasional light bleeding during brushing may simply indicate you are brushing too hard, the blood could also signal gum disease, which, with proper care, is preventable and treatable. Ways to help avoid gum disease include:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day
  • Flossing
  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Avoiding smoking in any form
  • Exercising

The South Florida Center for Periodontics & Implant Dentistry provides professional periodontal care to diagnose and treat gum disease in a calm, friendly and comfortable atmosphere. We know that your oral health is more important now than ever, since infections in the mouth can compromise your ability to fight off other infections. We’ve gone beyond regulatory requirements to make sure you also feel safe with us during this current, challenging pandemic.

Please call our office at 561-544-7359 if you have any questions or wish to set up an appointment to address any periodontal issues or to inquire about dental implants.