June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month
At Metropolitan Dental Care we join the fight to combat Alzheimer's and this month of June, we support the Alzheimer's Association's - Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month. "In 2020 as many as 5.8 million Americans were living with Alzheimer's disease" (Matthews et al., 2019).
Our periodontist colleagues have determined a possible link between periodontal disease and Alzheimer's. Although the mechanism of action remains to be confirmed, there is reason to believe that there is an association between the bacterial species P. gingivalis and Alzheimer's Disease.
P. gingivalis formally known as Porphyromonas gingivalis, is associated with chronic periodontal disease. The importance and purpose of hygiene visits is to prevent periodontitis, by thoroughly removing plaque and calculus (tartar) that harbors bacteria around the gingival margin of the tooth. When plaque and calculus remains around the tooth it results in inflammation, increased pocket depths, connective tissue loss and over time can result in alveolar bone loss, mobility of teeth, periodontal infections and loss of teeth.
Amyloid plaques are protein fragments that have hardened in the brain, and along with Tau Tangles both are associated with Alzheimer's disease. Recent research shows that the "presence of P. gingivalis increased the production of amyloid beta, a component of the amyloid plaques whose accumulation contributes to Alzheimer's. The study confirmed via animal testing that P. gingivalis can travel from the mouth to the brain and that the related gingipains can destroy brain neurons." The destruction of neuronal cells can possibly result in Alzheimer's disease. (Periodontal Disease Bacteria Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease | Perio.org
, n.d.) Alzheimer's disease severely affects many patients and their families. We understand that it can be challenging for caretakers to help with oral hygiene routines for patients that have Alzheimer’s. Involve your dentist today to learn more about what you can do to help.
Although much remains unknown, this possible link inspires us to pursue prevention and oral health education. For any questions or to schedule your appointment today, please contact our office at 212-867-4223.
Matthews, K. A., Xu, W., Gaglioti, A. H., Holt, J. B., Croft, J. B., Mack, D., & McGuire, L. C. (2019). Racial and ethnic estimates of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in the United States (2015–2060) in adults aged ≥65 years. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 15(1), 17–24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jalz.2018.06.3063
Singhrao, S. K., Harding, A., Poole, S., Kesavalu, L., & Crean, S. (2015). Porphyromonas gingivalis Periodontal Infection and Its Putative Links with Alzheimer’s Disease. Mediators of Inflammation, 2015, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/137357
Singhrao, S. K., Harding, A., Simmons, T., Robinson, S., Kesavalu, L., & Crean, S. (2014). Oral Inflammation, Tooth Loss, Risk Factors, and Association with Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 42(3), 723–737. https://doi.org/10.3233/jad-140387