June 2, 2023
Whenever you brush and floss, you likely don’t think about how you’re probably lowering your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. While that might seem farfetched, more and more science is starting to show that your oral and cognitive health are deeply connected. In honor of June, which is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, here’s how your oral hygiene cannot only keep your mouth clean, but your brain as well.
The Mind-Mouth Connection
You don’t need to be a doctor to notice that your mouth and brain aren’t that far apart, and over the decades, scientists have performed a lot of research on both of these regions. What countless studies have shown is that many of the same types of oral bacteria that are associated with gum disease (specifically porphyromonas gingivalis) are often found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
While it hasn’t been shown that this type of bacteria is a direct cause of Alzheimer’s, the correlation is so strong that most healthcare professionals will recommend high-quality oral hygiene for patients who want to lower their risk. It’s an area of study that is still developing, but the findings are already causing a lot of excitement in the scientific community. If this kind of bacteria is ultimately found responsible for causing or making someone more susceptible to Alzheimer’s, it’s easily treatable, and many prevention methods are already available as well.
What You Can Do Now
Now that you have this knowledge, what can you do with it? Thankfully, the answer is simple—just follow a comprehensive daily oral hygiene routine. This will reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in your mouth and dramatically lower your risk for gum disease, which could potentially end up protecting your brain as well. Right now, the American Dental Association recommends that everyone:
- Brush for two minutes in the morning and evening with fluoridated toothpaste
- Floss at least once in the evening
- Use alcohol-free mouthwash to rinse
- Reduce the amount of high-sugar foods you consume
- Reach out to your dentist if you show symptoms of gum disease (red, swollen, or sensitive gums that bleed easily)
Does gum disease cause Alzheimer’s? That connection hasn’t been established yet, but if there is something you can do that will help you avoid dental and maybe brain issues across your lifetime, why not take advantage of it?
About the Practice
New Image Dentistry keeps the smiles of San Antonio healthy and beautiful thanks to the expertise of our team of dentists. We offer a wide array of high-quality services under one roof, including periodontal (gum disease) therapy. With a commitment to patient comfort and care as well as only using state-of-the-art technology, we’re eager to help you achieve your dental goals with ease. To schedule an appointment, contact us through our website or call (210) 804-1558.