You may already know that inflamed gums can lead to heart disease. But you probably don’t know that inflamed gums can lead to another disease. And, for many people, this disease is even scarier. It’s Alzheimer’s disease.
Inflammation in your gums can increase your risk for memory problems and the ability to think clearly. That’s what a group of dental researchers at New York University found when they examined 20 years of data. They were looking for a possible link between periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s.
Here’s what they found: People with normal brain function and inflamed gums had a greater increased risk for dementia than normal people with little or no inflammation.
The researchers compared cognitive function in more than 150 people. They checked them when they were 50 years old and again at age 70. Those with inflammation were nine times more likely to show signs of impaired cognition than those with healthy gums. This was true even when the researchers took into account other risk factors for dementia. These included obesity, smoking, and dental problems excluding inflammation.
The cause of chronic oral inflammation (periodontal disease) is bacteria (plaque). These bacteria not only affect your gums, but the bones that hold your teeth in place. That’s not all they do. They produce toxic substances and lower immunity as well. Inflammation is a risk factor for systemic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and now Alzheimer’s.
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Here’s the easy solution. See your dentist at least twice a year for an evaluation of your oral health and for a thorough cleaning. It’s extremely difficult to remove bacteria from all surfaces of your teeth. Your dentist can help.
If you have oral inflammation, reduce your intake of pro-inflammatory foods, especially those containing sugar. Use an electric toothbrush morning and night. It cleans better than a hand-held brush. Apply a small amount of a probiotic to your toothbrush to help fight bacteria. Leave it on your gums as long as you can. When I applied Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics 12-Plus, available in health food stores, my gums improved dramatically in one week. This is now part of my daily regime. Any probiotic powder should work.
Finally, consider taking a natural anti-inflammatory formula like Reduloxin. It can reduce inflammation through your entire body, including your gums.
The issue is not just sore or bleeding gums. It’s a matter of preventing heart disease, osteoporosis, immune problems … and Alzheimer’s disease.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
New York University (2010, August 4). Gum inflammation linked to Alzheimer's disease.