Study links gum disease to Alzheimer's disease

Study links gum disease to Alzheimer's disease

As September 2017 is World Alzheimer's month we’re taking the opportunity to look at a potential link between this debilitating and highly politicised condition and gum disease, an oral health issue that we encounter on a daily basis.

A recent study has suggested that gum disease raises the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, especially in long term sufferers. Here we review the results of the survey, explain what gum disease is and most importantly, how it can be prevented.

About the study

The study, conducted by Alzheimer's Research and Therapy, examined a cross-section of 25,000 dental patients aged fifty years and above in order to determine whether severe gum disease (chronic periodontitis) could be linked to an increased likelihood of the sufferer developing Alzheimer's disease in later life.

Findings collated through the study suggested that those who had consistent issues with gum disease for ten years or longer were 70% more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, strengthening claims that a connection between the two illnesses exists.


So although a formal link is yet to be determined, the results of the study certainly add support to the theory that gum disease is linked to Alzheimer's, in addition to a host of other conditions including heart disease and diabetes. 

What is gum disease?

The early symptoms of gum disease commonly include bad breath and swollen or bleeding gums that are easily aggravated by brushing or eating hard foods. This is caused by the build-up of sticky plaque around the gums often attributed to sugary foods and a poor dental hygiene regime.

If ignored this aggressive condition can lead to far greater oral health issues, including tooth loss and in extreme cases, damage with the jaw bone itself.

How can gum disease be prevented?

In its earliest form, gum disease is easily treatable when dealt with professionally.

At an initial appointment a dentist will explain the condition to you, recommend the dental hygiene and brushing techniques needed to prevent the build-up of plaque, and strongly advise against sugary foods and smoking.

The dentist will then perform a deep clean ‘scale and polish’ of the teeth to remove existing plaque and check the health of your teeth and gums to identify any connected issues. 


If you are concerned that you may be suffering from the symptoms of gum disease, contact the team of the Riverside Dental Spa to discuss an easy and effective treatment plan.

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