Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia in adults over 65 years of age. This progressive brain disorder can cause memory loss and deteriorated thinking and language skills. Changes in behavior are also common. It’s one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S., and Alzheimer’s research studies are discovering new insights every year.
In 2019, a study was published in Science Advances by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. It suggests a potential link between Alzheimer’s and periodontal bacteria, or the strain of bacteria that causes gum disease.
The researchers working on the study confirmed that these bacteria can travel from the mouth to the brain. Once there, the bacteria produce toxins that destroy neurons in the brain. Those toxins were found in the:
- brain tissue,
- spinal fluid,
- and saliva of those with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
This study brings us closer to understanding the role periodontal bacteria may play in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
These findings add supporting evidence to the link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease. We need more research to understand the link between the two, or how bacteria from the mouth got to the brain in the first place. Delta Dental will continue to evaluate what the link between Alzheimer’s disease and periodontal bacteria means.
What to Take Away from Alzheimer’s Research Studies Today
The health of your mouth undeniably impacts your overall health, which can become worse as we age. Keeping the mouth healthy and managing gum disease is important to our oral and overall health throughout our lives. As we get older, we can be more susceptible to infection if we have dry mouth, are a smoker or take certain medications.
Older adults are also at higher risk because other factors can cause their dental health to become less of a priority.
- Many older adults don’t get a new dental insurance plan after they retire and are no longer eligible for employer-sponsored coverage.
- Complete dental coverage isn’t offered under Medicare.
- Dry mouth, tooth decay or tooth loss, and tooth sensitivity can contribute to poor nutrition.
- A lack of transportation may make regular dental visits difficult.
A dental plan with Delta Dental of Virginia can help you maintain oral health in your retirement. Review details of our individual dental plans.
Contact us today to discuss what coverage options are right for you.