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mouth and memory loss

Could your Mouth be to Blame for your Memory Loss?


Misplacing your keys, forgetting the dinner rolls in the oven, or leaving your morning coffee on top of the car on your way to work are all signs you may suffer from memory loss. New York University’s College of Dentistry and Weill Cornell Medicine recently researched how periodontal disease or gum disease could lead to an increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Today on the blog, our Lake Forest family dentists at Lake Forest Smiles share the research results and how your mouth could be to blame for your memory loss.

What causes Alzheimer’s disease?

Although scientists continuously research and study Alzheimer’s disease, there is still more to uncover and understand. Fortunately, scientists can now identify warning signs associated with Alzheimer’s disease development through the research process. The first warning sign is clumping microscopic compounds known as amyloid-beta proteins into a plaque-like substance found in spinal fluid. The substance interferes with the neurological pathways your brain uses to send messages to other areas and could result in missed messages. The second warning sign occurs when tau proteins build up in the brain’s neurons, forming triangles and blocking the brain’s communication capabilities. Unfortunately, both conditions lead to brain cell death and a loss of cognitive ability.

How does gum disease contribute to Alzheimer’s disease development?

Both good and bad bacteria live in our mouths. Gum disease develops when an imbalance occurs, resulting in red, swollen, and tender gums. Once your gums become infected, bone loss pockets form between your teeth and gums, providing a prime location for harmful bacteria, further exasperating your condition. Our Lake Bluff family dentists explain that gum disease links directly to other severe medical conditions like stroke, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and even a heart attack. The NYU and Weill Cornell researchers express a growing concern that an oral bacteria imbalance and inflammation correlate with the above two biomarkers. Therefore, they concluded in their 48 healthy senior studies that required an oral swab and a spinal fluid sample that those who had increased harmful oral bacteria are more likely also to have reduced CSF amyloid-beta. Unfortunately, the reduced levels are a significant warning sign about Alzheimer’s-related protein collecting in the brain.

How can I reduce my Alzheimer’s disease risk?

Preventive oral health care is the key to stopping gum disease. According to the American Dental Association, brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once daily is necessary for optimal oral health. Additionally, visiting our Lincolnshire family dentists every six months for checkups and cleanings can help remove embedded bacteria underneath your gums. Patients who struggle using floss correctly can use a water flosser instead to remove food debris and harmful bacteria from between their teeth, although string floss is always best. Next, use a quality mouth rinse to reach the impossible areas for more bacterial removal. Finally, ingesting an oral probiotic could help balance oral bacteria and reduce your gum disease risk. However, probiotic supplements should not replace daily oral care.

Family Dentists in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire

Forgetting things as you go through your day can be frustrating. Although gum disease is not the only factor in one’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease, it is a significant player of harmful bacteria that could create more health complications. Therefore, take control of your oral health today and schedule a consultation at our Lake Forest dental office. Feel free to call Lake Forest Smiles at (847) 234-4800 or contact us online for your appointment.

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