Alzheimer's Society comment on link between poor dental health and dementia

Published 30 July 2013

People with poor oral hygiene or gum disease may be at a greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

This is according to a study published today (Tuesday 30 July 2013) by the University of Central Lancashire School of Medicine and Dentistry.

The study examined brain samples donated by ten people without dementia and ten people with dementia. It found the presence of a bacteria called Porphyromonas gingivalis in the brains of the people with dementia. The researchers propose that this bacteria could play a role in changes in the brain typical of Alzheimer's disease and could be associated with symptoms such as confusion and deteriorating memory.

Alzheimer's Society comment:

'There have been a number of studies looking at the link between dementia and inflammation caused by factors including poor dental health, but this is not yet fully understood. This small study suggests that we need more research into this important area.   

'The best way to reduce your risk of dementia is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Enjoy a balanced Mediterranean diet rich in fruit and vegetables, oily fish and the even the occasional glass of red wine, take regular exercise and don't smoke. Of course if people are worried, it never hurts to reach for the tooth brush twice a day.'

Dr Alison Cook
Director of External Affairs
Alzheimer's Society

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