As we age, it becomes increasingly important to adopt healthy habits so that we can remain active and independent. But eating right and exercising to maintain our physical fitness aren't the only ways to stay healthy. We must also focus on our brain health to reduce the risk of dementia, including Alzheimer's Disease.
What Is Alzheimer's Disease?
Alzheimer's Disease is an irreversible neurological disease that causes memory loss and a gradual decline in thinking skills. It typically occurs later in life and has no known cure. While doctors do not fully understand the causes of Alzheimer's Disease, it is associated with a range of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. As such, it is vitally important to understand the risk factors and make the necessary adjustments to minimize your chances of developing the disease.
The Mouth-Body Connection to Alzheimer's
While you might not commonly associate oral health with brain health, the two are more closely linked than you might think. Research, including a 2019 study by Dr. Stephen Dominy, has shown that several periodontal pathogens are risk factors for the development of Alzheimer's, including the P.g., C.r., and C.s. pathogens.
Patients who have lost more than half their teeth by the age of 60 have more than twice the standard risk of developing dementia. A 2007 study found that patients with few or no teeth saw their risk of developing dementia increase by more than four times. The most common cause of tooth loss was periodontal disease occurring 20 to 30 years before the dementia's onset.
People with Alzheimer's Disease gradually lose their ability to care for themselves, which can cause their oral hygiene to decline. Decreased oral health can lead to the onset or worsening of periodontal disease, which, in turn, exacerbates the effects of Alzheimer's Disease.
At Union Village Medical Group, we work on consort with the oral health professionals at Union Village Modern Dentistry to provide a comprehensive treatment plan that takes into account your body, mouth, and brain. With services such as periodontal treatment, blood pressure monitoring, and salivary diagnostic testing, we take a preventative approach to address the risks of Alzheimer's Disease and give you the best chance at long-term brain health.