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Could Good Oral Health Help Your Memory?

Poor oral health is one of various health ailments that have been linked to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.


The bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis (usually abbreviated as P. gingivalis) is present in the brain tissue in those who have Alzheimer’s and not present in those who did not have Alzheimer’s. P. gingivalis is most often associated with chronic gum disease (periodontal disease).  Experts have several theories on how the P. gingivalis bacteria gets from your mouth to your brain. One is that the bacteria move through nerves in the roots of your teeth through to nerves that connect directly with your brain. A second is that bacteria gain access to the rest of your body by entering through bleeding gums. Researchers are also looking at inflammation as a possible cause of Alzheimer’s, and inflammation is a key issue in gum disease.


Some of your mouth bacteria will cause your gums to become inflamed. Inflamed gums look red or purple (or any color other than coral pink), may be sore, and bleed more easily than healthy gums. These bacteria are held near your gums by plaque, tartar, and calculus. Plaque is soft and can be moved around or removed with your toothbrush and dental floss. Plaque that is left in one spot for a day or more will harden into tartar or calculus and must be removed by your dental professional. The better your home oral care is, the less hard build up there will be for your dental professional to remove—so if you hate the “scraping” brush and floss more in between visits! The less bacteria present, the less likely you are to have gingivitis (what we call inflammation of your gums in the early stages) or periodontal disease (what we call inflammation of your gums when it has also started to affect the bone that surrounds your teeth). And you may also preserve your memory to boot!


You can learn more about your gums in the patient education section of my website www.drjrobb.com


Note: This advice is not intended to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals.

Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who would love to help you get your mouth back to your best dental health! Call 440-960-1940 to schedule an appointment. Her office is located at 1320 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH. She’s also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DrJenniferRobb