Gum Infection and Alzheimer’s

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Does gum infection cause Alzheimer’s? It’s still too early to say for sure, but yet another study links gum disease to the most devastating form of dementia. The study, published early this year in the journal Science Advances, focused on the bacteria known as Pg. Pg causes the gum infection chronic periodontitis. With chronic periodontitis, you’re dealing with chronic inflammation and potential tooth loss – not exactly a winning combination! And it’s looking like that’s not all you may get with Pg.

Researchers discover Pg in 51 out of 53 brain autopsies of Alzheimer’s patients

This isn’t the first study to link poor gum health to some of the most serious and fatal diseases. And it certainly won’t be the last. The body of scientific research linking periodontitis to other diseases is mounting.

Not necessarily a direct cause, but still a cause for concern

It’s always important to note who funded any given study. And in this case, it was backed by Alzheimer’s pharmaceutical research. But with more than 5 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s, and deaths from this disease on the rise, it’s critical to educate and protect yourself as best as you can. Especially in this case, where the worst thing that happens is you improve your dental health.

So what can you do to avoid gum disease?

First, let’s examine what periodontal disease is. You’ve heard of plaque – that gunk that builds up along your gum line. Well, it’s full of bacteria. And when bacteria grows, you end up with inflammation. The trick is getting rid of the plaque proactively. Doing that may not just protect you from Alzheimer’s, but also diabetes and heart disease as well. According to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, periodontal treatment is recommended as part of chronic disease management.

Feeling motivated yet?

I hope so! Because improving your dental health is pretty easy, and I know you can do it. All you have to do is commit to three simple steps – and possibly a fourth, depending on how much treatment you require. Now you just may be more likely than ever to dedicate the small amount of time required to potentially make a huge difference in your future – and the futures of those who love you. So let’s get into it!

1. Floss

See? I told you it was easy. But make sure you’re flossing at least twice a day, preferably after every meal. And listen, you may be thinking, “Come on, Doc. I do that.” But do you really? Do you do it properly? Do you floss morning and night? Taking flossing seriously will go a long way in protecting your health.

2. Brush

Again, easy, right? But not so fast. Are you really taking the recommended amount of time to clean your teeth? Do you keep your toothbrush going the full two minutes, or do you stop a little early? You don’t have to be honest with me. But you can be honest with yourself. Consider setting a timer tonight, and remember: You could be dedicating a couple minutes to your physical and mental health. No matter how busy or tired you are, you deserve at least a few critical minutes of self-care.

3. Book your cleaning appointment today

Regular cleanings and early detection are vital to your dental health. And even if you know you have symptoms of gum disease, it’s never too late for treatment. Whatever stage you’re at, I can help identify your risk factors and any signs of periodontal disease. With my help, you’ll achieve and maintain gum health.

4. Laser gum therapy

An FDA-approved laser treatment known as LANAP can help kill those bacteria and reverse gum disease. In fact, it’s the only way to do this. This therapy is nearly painless, typically requiring only local anesthetic. The results are impressive, and I highly recommend this treatment to restore gum health.

Take time for yourself

We’re still discovering the extent of the damage gum disease wreaks throughout our bodies. But one thing we know for sure is how to prevent and treat gum disease before it gets any worse. Now that we’re learning what might be at stake, I encourage you to prioritize your dental health. And the entire team here at Sleep Dentistry Defined is here to help!

I’m looking forward to helping you put yourself, and your future, first.

-Dr Heath Lampee, DMD

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