- A recent study found a link between Alzheimer's disease and Porphyromonas gingivalis a bacterial species associated with gum disease, CBS News reported.
- Some scientists have said that more research is needed to understand this new insight.
- But two dentists told INSIDER there are other reasons that gum disease can affect your health.
- Half of Americans over the age of 30 have a type of gum disease that, if left unchecked, can cause tooth loss.
- Gum disease has also been implicated in other diseases such as heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Recent research indicates that a type of bacteria involved in gum disease may play a role in the development of Alzheimer's disease.
The study, which was sponsored by privately owned pharmaceutical company Cortexyme, Inc., was published in the journal Science Advances, CBS News reported Thursday.
The researchers studied brains of deceased people with Alzheimer's disease and found evidence of Porphyromonas gingivalis (Pg), a type of bacteria associated with gum disease. In brain samples from Alzheimer's patients, they also found evidence of gingivitis, toxic enzymes produced by the bacteria.
They also performed an experiment on mice and infected their gums with Pg. Later, they discovered the bacteria and higher than normal amyloid beta (a protein associated with Alzheimer's disease) in the brain of the mouse. In further experiments on mice, the researchers tested a drug that binds to gingipain. The drug helped to reduce the amount of Pg bacteria and block the formation of beta-amyloid in the animals' brains.
"The results of this study demonstrate that Porphyromonas gingivalis and gingipain in the brain play a central role in the pathogenesis [Alzheimer̵
Experts who were not involved in the new study have interpreted the results with caution and called for more research. Nevertheless, two dentists told INSIDER that there are many other ways in which gum disease can negatively affect health.
Other experts have focused on the new findings
Several previous studies support the idea of a link between oral health and Alzheimer's disease. CBS News cited two specific studies in its report. One in 2017 found that people who had 10 years of gum disease were at a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease. A small 2016 study in people with mild to moderate dementia found a link between gum disease and higher cognitive decline.
But in response to the new study, some scientists have said that there is still not enough evidence to say that microbes like Pg definitely cause Alzheimer's.
"The idea that bacteria and viruses may play a role in brain diseases such as Alzheimer's is not necessarily new," Dr. Rebecca Edelmayer, director of Alzheimer's Association's scientific engagement, told CBS News. "But what this paper suggests is really an association and not causality … More research is needed to truly identify a causative role for microbes."
"I am full of the idea that this microbe might be a contributory factor, and I am much less convinced that [it] causes Alzheimer's disease," said neurobiologist Dr. Robert Moir or the Massachusetts General Hospital in Science Journal.
And dr. James Pickett, head of research at the UK Alzheimer's Society, told CNN, although the new study suggests that a Pg infection could damage brain cells, "there is still no clear evidence that they can cause this damage People or lead to Alzheimer's disease. "
Edelmayer told CBS News that it was too early to say whether good oral care could help prevent Alzheimer's disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), scientists still do not fully understand what causes Alzheimer's disease. The best-known risk factor for the disease is currently age.
There are other reasons to keep your gums disease-free
 New research aside Dentists have long known that gum disease can destroy the mouth. It is also very common: According to the CDC, nearly half of all US adults over the age of 30 have some kind of gum disease.
"To tell the truth, with teeth everyone believes that the number one issue is the cavities, but it's actually a gum disease," said the dentist. Nammy Patel, Green Dentistry owner in San Francisco, opposite INSIDER.
Gum disease is an infection that affects the tissue that holds your teeth in place. Usually this is caused by poor oral hygiene, which can accumulate plaque, a sticky bacterial film, on the teeth. In advanced stages of gum disease, plaque spreads below the gum line, resulting in an inflammatory response in which the tissues and bones supporting the teeth are broken down according to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP). The gums can begin to break away from the teeth, causing open pockets, which then become infected. Finally, it can lead to tooth loss.
Although early gum disease often has no symptoms, the AAP indicates that the signs may be red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums; Gums that retract or withdraw from the teeth; persistent bad breath; Pus between gums and teeth and mouth sores.
Read More : A dentist explains how cavities can be prevented
In some studies, gum disease has even been linked to systemic health problems.
"There were studies that linked gum disease and a variety of problems years ago and years ago, such as heart disease, low birth weight, and rheumatoid arthritis." Harold Katz, founder of California Breath Clinics told INSIDER.
There are other potentially links. A study published last October found a link between gum disease and higher blood pressure. another from last January reported a link between gum disease and increased cancer risk.
You can prevent gum disease with good home care.
To prevent gum disease, you should make sure that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, Patel said.
Frosting once a day is also one of the "regular homework" to keep the gums healthy, Katz said. However, if you do not like it, if you do not like it, then Patel would use a water-finned instead.
"Water is splashing between your teeth," she said. "That's fantastic, too."
The CDC also recommends that you have a dental check-up at least once a year, or more often if you have certain risk factors for gum disease (eg, smoking, family history, diabetes, medications that cause dryness, pregnancy, etc.).
Dentists may use a combination of visual examination, X-rays, and an instrument called a probe to check for signs of gum disease, Patel said.
Both dentists emphasized the importance of oral health.
"The biggest thing I can say is to take care of your mouth," said Patel. "The new trend really has to be how important oral health is to the whole body."
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