Periodontal disease (gum disease) has been linked to a range of overall health issues, including stroke, heart disease, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and other conditions. Recently, a study by the University of Southampton and King’s College London found a correlation between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease. The research looked at 59 patients who were diagnosed with mild to moderate dementia. Individuals in the study who also had periodontitis were found to have a six-fold increase in the rate of cognitive decline over a period of six months when compared to those who did not have periodontitis.
The Alzheimer’s Society says that the study was “small” and that it’s still not clear whether gum disease was the cause of the greater decline or the effect of Alzheimer’s patients who have a reduced ability to maintain good oral hygiene as the disease gets worse. However, the organization notes that, if the link is proven true, good oral health may be a way to slow the progression of dementia.
Our experienced dentist, Dr. Harold A. Pollack, offers a range of preventive and general dental care options that include treatments for gum disease. It is very important to have regular dental check-ups to identify gum disease in its earliest stage. It is also critical to schedule an appointment at the first signs of possible gum disease, which include gums that are red, painful, bleeding, or receding, and teeth that feel loose. Gum disease is a treatable condition that can lead to serious oral health problems and an increased risk of developing life-threatening systemic health conditions. With treatment, many of these risks can be reduced.