Alzheimer’s Disease and Periodontal Disease are both inflammatory problems that affect adults worldwide, and we are learning that they are closely related.  The bacteria under the gums starts the inflammatory process that eventually leads to destruction of the tissue and bone support around the teeth.  As this disease becomes chronic, bad bacteria thrive and create a toxic environment; these toxins affect the rest of the body, including the brain.  I believe that we have much more control over our health outcomes than we often think.  Alzheimer’s Disease is terrifying and many people live in constant fear of this disorder.  But, take heart.  There is hope!  Let’s talk about how gum disease toxins affect thinking and what you can do about it.  

Chronic Periodontal Disease or “gum disease” can involve an army of bad bacteria.  Among them is one specific bad guy named Porphyromonas gingivalis, also known as P. gingivalis that is making news. The neurodegenerative condition known as Alzheimer’s Disease is characterized by a deteriorating memory and certain hallmark “tangled” proteins.  The pathogenic bacteria that produces this continuous inflammatory response commonly found in gum disease is also being linked with this devastating condition.

When the gums around the teeth are healthy, they provide a tight junction or seal to keep bacteria from setting up camp in the pocket at the base of each tooth.  Too often ignored, bleeding gums are the first sign of this destructive, inflammatory process.  The bacteria stimulate a normal immune response to try to heal the assault; when the immune response becomes chronic, tissue destruction results.  As this destruction continues, the bacteria have the perfect conditions, a highly toxic niche, to survive and  reproduce.  As they multiply, they can eventually spread to distant organs in the body.  

Periodontitis is the most common infectious, inflammatory disease in humans.  Almost 50 percent of adults have the chronic, destructive form of the disease; but I personally believe the number is higher.  It’s one of those “silent diseases” that is there when you actually look for it.  

A team of researchers from the United States and the United Kingdom studied the brains of twenty people post-mortem: ten people who had dementia at the time of death and ten people who had no signs of the disease when they died.  They found the bad periodontal disease-causing bacteria P. gingivalis in four of the ten brains with Alzheimer’s Disease and in none of the brains of the people with good cognition at the time of death.   This study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in 2013.

In my office, we test for specific bacteria in the mouth and have found that P. gingivalis is very common in people with Periodontal Disease.  It is a “trans-kissable” bacteria.  In other words, it can be transmitted from one person to another in saliva.  

Now for the good news!  START SOMEWHERE today with these strategies to get your mouth healthy:

  • Tell yourself the truth.  If your gums bleed at all, then you have inflammation. This is a “red light” telling you to stop and get help.  Find a dentist who takes bleeding gums seriously.
  • Make sure you have a dentist who does an annual Comprehensive Periodontal Exam.  This is an objective way to detect pocket depth and bleeding points so that you know what needs to be done to restore your oral health.   
  • Consider Oral Probiotics.  Replenish is a pleasant-tasting meltaway that helps put good bacteria back in your mouth. These good bacteria can crowd out the bad bacteria and freshen breath.  I formulated them, and my patients love them!
  • Increase your intake of raw vegetables.  I recommend starting with two cups a day and working up to seven or eight cups.  A good supply of antioxidants reinforces your immune system to fight toxins.
  • Get serious about your home care.  Ask a qualified Dental Hygienist what specific routine you need.    

Remember, healthy gums don’t bleed and healthy gums are not painful.  It’s the inflammation that causes the pain.  We are learning that gum disease toxins affect thinking, and we still have more to learn.  Open wide and take control of your health.  You can do it.  I will help you.

Gum Disease Toxins Affect Thinking

Gum Disease Toxins Affect Thinking