Oral health, essential in the fight against Alzheimer’s

Currently available evidence suggests that Periodontal disease can accelerate or even initiate periodontal disease. Alzheimer’shence the need for a complete follow-up of the periodontal health of people at risk but also of those affected by this disease.

And that’s it, preventing or treating gum disease with effective daily brushing and professional dental hygiene can reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth, which leads to a decrease in the level of chronic inflammation in the gums. In fact, current research is evaluating whether improved oral health status results in slower degeneration of brain tissue, as measured by cognitive function.

important link

In recent years, a lot of research has accumulated that reveals the close relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and periodontitis. This possible link was evoked years ago, and could be explained in a bidirectional way: on the one hand, progressive cognitive deterioration would limit oral hygiene habits, affecting oral health; And on the other hand, the chronic immuno-inflammatory process and the systemic inflammation secondary to periodontitis could induce neuro-inflammatory phenomena that promote Alzheimer’s disease.

It is based on the idea that the immune system is involved in the initiation and progression of Alzheimer’s disease and that as we age our immune system becomes less effective. In this direction, the mouth is known to be a major source of chronic bacterial infection in Alzheimer’s disease.

Additionally, recent research suggests that bacterial infection deep within the gumline may ultimately pose a threat to cognitive function in the brain. These oral bacteria are thought to enter the bloodstream from inflamed gums, where they trigger the release of inflammatory molecules that then increase the “leakage” of the blood-brain barrier. This allows bacteria and their toxins to enter the brain itself, where they can damage brain tissue.

accumulation of evidence

The truth is that in recent years, more and more evidence has accumulated on this link between periodical health and the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. In 2019, a study published in Scientists progressfrom Potempa’s research team, a microbiologist at the University of Louisville, USA, detected a pathogen typical of chronic periodontitis, the Porphyromonas gingivalisin the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

It is the most relevant periodontal pathogen and most frequently associated with advanced periodontitis and. By its toxins, the gingipains, is able to reproduce the pathophysiological processes associated with Alzheimer’s disease in different animal models. It has been suggested that chronic inflammation sustained over many years following periodontitis may possibly be associated with cognitive impairment.

This is demonstrated by a recent survey of 150 participants at the Faculty of Dentistry of Santiago de Compostela in which indications were found that inflammatory diseases such as periodontitis could contribute to the development and progression of this disease. neurodegenerative disease.

A special patient, special care

In addition to this evidence, from the Epsañola Society of Periodontics and Osseointegration (SEPA), it is also recalled that, in people with Alzheimer’s disease, Supervision by a family member or caregiver is essential to avoid developing oral disease.

It is essential to follow some practical advice:

  1. Make brushing your teeth a routine daily 2 to 3 times a day.
  2. If you forgot how to brush, it is advisable that the caregiver brush their teeth in front of you and guide your hand.
  3. Make the task as easy as possible; a simple action, like putting toothpaste on the brush, can save you a lot of trouble.
  4. It is sometimes difficult to place the toothbrush or dental floss in the patient’s mouth without getting angry. it is important to choose the best time of day to do thiswhen he’s most cooperative and calm (it doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening).
  5. If you have trouble gripping the brush, you can use a longer, wider, and thicker handle. Using an electric toothbrush under supervision is also recommended and can make brushing easier.
  6. Anti-plaque mouthwashes are also recommended, as long as they are not swallowed.
  7. Dentures: Make sure they fit perfectly and, if not, go to the dentist to have them touched up, avoiding gum irritation and chewing problems. This prosthesis must be removed from the mouth, cleaned and rinsed daily, taking advantage of this situation to clean the gums with a soft brush.
  8. If home oral care becomes too difficult or inconvenient for the patient and their family/caregiver, visit the dentist every 2-3 months for regular dental cleaning.
  9. Make regular visits (twice a year) to the dentist to remove cavities and perform cleaning.

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