People with gum disease may have an increased risk of dementia, according to a new study.
Scientists took samples of cerebrospinal fluid – which surrounds the brain and spinal cord – and performed bacterial smears on the gums of volunteers.
It revealed that people with poor oral health also have higher levels of amyloid beta, a dangerous protein found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
Gum disease is a very common condition that has several causes: poor oral hygiene, stress, age and smoking, all factors that increase a person’s risk.
The best way to prevent and treat gum disease, according to the NHS, is a good cleaning regimen, including brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes, using a good quality toothpaste, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist.
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Gum disease is a very common condition that has several causes: poor oral hygiene, stress, age and smoking, all factors that increase a person’s risk. People with the condition may be more at risk for dementia, a study claims
Beta amyloid proteins clump together in the brain to form plaques surrounding nerve cells, inhibiting brain function and causing cognitive decline.
But while there is a firm link between the protein and dementia, exactly how beta-amyloid causes the disease remains only partially understood.
A leading theory is that pro-inflammatory diseases, such as gum disease, prevent the body from flushing amyloid from the brain.
To study the link, American scientists took gum swabs and cerebrospinal fluid samples from 48 healthy volunteers, all over the age of 65.
People in this age group are at increased risk for both dementia and gum disease, with 70 percent of those over 65 suffering from the oral condition.
Scientists took samples of cerebrospinal fluid – which surrounds the brain and spinal cord – and performed bacterial smears on healthy volunteers. It revealed that people with poor oral health also have higher levels of amyloid beta, a protein found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
Adults who suffer from gum disease are TWICE at risk of high blood pressure
People with severe gum disease are twice as likely to have high blood pressure, according to a new study.
A study of 250 people with periodontal disease – serious gum disease – found that people with the condition are 2.3 times more likely to have systolic blood pressure higher than 140 mm Hg, the medical threshold for hypertension.
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums that often causes bleeding and can lead to loss of teeth or bones.
Researchers at University College London studied both systolic and diastolic blood pressure – how much force the blood has when the heart contracts and relaxes, respectively.
Both readings are measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and people with gum disease have an average of 3.36 mm Hg higher systolic pressure.
Their diastolic blood pressure is also increased by 2.16 mm Hg compared to those in impeccable dental health.
The bacterial balance for all 48 people was compared to the levels of beta-amyloid and tau, another protein known to be present in dementia patients.
Scientists measured the level of ‘good’ bacteria, such as Corynebacterium and Actinomyces, and compared this to the presence of ‘bad’ bacteria, including Prevotella and Porphyromonas.
Data shows that individuals with more good bacteria than bad bacteria in their gums had lower amyloid levels in their cerebrospinal fluid, indicating a lower risk of dementia.
“ To our knowledge, this is the first study to show an association between the imbalanced bacterial community beneath the gums and a cerebrospinal fluid biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease in cognitively normal older adults, ” said Dr. Angela Kamer of New York University College. of Dentistry and the lead author of the study.
The mouth is home to harmful bacteria that promote inflammation as well as healthy, protective bacteria.
“We found that having evidence for amyloid in the brain was associated with more harmful and decreased beneficial bacteria.”
The researchers speculate that having plenty of healthy bacteria in a person’s mouth can help fight inflammation and protect against Alzheimer’s.
“Our results demonstrate the importance of the overall oral microbiome – not just the role of ‘bad’ bacteria, but also ‘good’ bacteria – in modulating amyloid levels,” said Dr. Kamer.
“These findings suggest that multiple oral bacteria are involved in the expression of amyloid lesions.”
Researchers found no evidence of tau proteins in the samples taken from the participants, even if a person had high amyloid levels.
As a result, they cannot say whether tau lesions will develop in people with high amyloid levels, or whether they will, in fact, continue to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers are now setting up a clinical trial to investigate whether improving gum health with deep cleansing can alter brain amyloid and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
The study is published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring.
Women who read newspapers and men who use a mobile phone have LESS risk of dementia, according to research
Certain intellectually stimulating leisure activities reduce the risk of dementia, a study finds.
Women, but not men, who regularly read a newspaper have a 35 percent lower risk of dementia than the rest of the population.
However, men are 36 percent less at risk of dementia if they regularly use a cell phone. The same protection was not seen for women.
Analysis also found that married people who participate in a pastime or hobby have a 30 percent lower risk of dementia.
The study’s lead author, Pamela Almeida-Meza, a PhD student at UCL, told MailOnline: “In the fight against dementia, it is clear that certain modifiable risk factors, such as cardiovascular health and depression management, are essential for prevention.
However, our new findings add to evidence showing that we can additionally empower our brains to tolerate damage while maintaining function by choosing to adopt a pleasurable lifestyle.
Researchers examined the role that a range of activities played in dementia risk by monitoring more than 8,000 people over 50 up to age 15.
They looked at 13 leisure activities and their influence – six were considered ‘intellectual’ and included hobbies, reading the newspaper, using a cell phone and being online.
Seven were considered ‘social’ and included things like joining a sports club, going on vacation, socializing with friends, and volunteering.
Ms. Almeida-Meza said doing more activities increases a person’s protection. For each additional activity, the risk of dementia decreased by nine percent.