Severe gum disease linked with raised risk of dementia. A new study search for the answer to this question: can keeping gums and teeth healthy also help reduce the dementia risk?
The findings show evidence of a link between severe gum disease and a raised risk of dementia.
For the study, the researchers used data from an extensive national health insurance screening program. They analyzed the association between periodontitis and dementia.
Periodontitis is a common disease that inflames the soft tissue and bone supporting the tooth. The team has explained their findings in a paper that now appears in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning that affects daily living. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia.
The researchers assessed health data on 262,349 people aged 50 and older. They found a 6 percent higher risk of developing dementia among people who had received a diagnosis of chronic periodontitis compared to those who didn’t.
“In conclusion, chronic periodontitis appeared to be associated with increased risk for dementia even after taking into consideration lifestyle behaviors including smoking, alcohol intake, and physical activity,” the authors said.
However, the specialists can’t prove that periodontitis can lead to dementia. They just suggested an association.
“These findings in combination with the recently published report on P. gingivalis, should make us all think more seriously about optimizing our own and our patients’ oral hygiene practices and dental care, with the added potential of perhaps protecting our brain health as well,” Drs. Joseph G. Ouslander and Mary Ganguli said.