People who have bad teeth and gum disease could have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, a new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease reveals.
An analysis of the brains of twenty dead people, 10 of whom had Alzheimer's, by researchers at University of Central Lancashire revealed the presence of bug P. gingivalis. The researchers suggested that the presence of the microbe triggers a chemical immune response that kills off brain cells.
While some experts, including Dr Simon Ridley of the charity Alzheimer's Research UK, suggest that the poor oral health could be as a result of Alzheimer's rather than its cause, lead researcher Dr Sim Singhrao said that regular visits to dental hygiene professionals could be more important than previously thought.
"We are working on the theory when the brain is repeatedly exposed to bacteria or their debris from our gums, subsequent immune responses may lead to nerve cell death and possibly memory loss. Continued visits to dental hygiene professionals throughout one's life may be more important than currently envisaged with inferences for health outside of the mouth only", Dr Singhrao said.