Large study links gum disease with Dementia
The mouth is home to about 700 species of bacteria, including those that can cause periodontal (gum) disease. A recent analysis led by NIA scientists suggests that bacteria that cause gum disease are also associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, especially vascular dementia. The results were reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Gum disease results from infection of the oral tissues holding teeth in place. Bleeding gums, loose teeth, and even tooth loss are the main effects of this disease. Bacteria and the inflammatory molecules they make can travel from infections in the mouth through the bloodstream to the brain. Previous lab studies have suggested that this is one mechanism influencing the cascade of events that leads to dementia, but large studies with people have not been conducted to confirm this relationship.