POOR ORAL HEALTH COULD SPEED UP ALZHEIMER'S PROGRESSION IN SUFFERERS.

A small scale study run by Kings College, London and the University of Southampton have found a statistical correlation between rates of dementia in Alzheimer's sufferers and poor oral health.

image of POOR ORAL HEALTH COULD SPEED UP ALZHEIMER'S PROGRESSION IN SUFFERERS.
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Since 2013, inflammation-causing bacteria found in gum disease (periodontitis), have been known to pass over the brain barrier in sufferers; but although Alzheimer's causes brain inflammation it is not known if there is a causal relationship here.

This small study involved 59 patients over six months. Patients with poor oral health were found to register a six-fold increase in deterioration compared to those sufferers with good oral health.

Prof. Clive Homes, senior author of the report, from the University of Southampton said:
 “These are very interesting results, which build on previous work we have done that shows that chronic inflammatory conditions have a detrimental effect on disease progression in people with Alzheimer’s disease,”

The Alzheimer's Society advises ensuring that those with Alzheimer's practice good self-care including oral health because of the links between gum disease and other diseases that are affected by the body's inflammatory response - including diabetes and some cancers.

The report writers are quick to point out that 'correlation' is not 'causality', it may just be that those with increasing dementia fail to look after themselves properly; plus this study was small and over a relatively short period of time.

However, with increasing evidence of the systemic effects of gum disease on other conditions within the body this report gives further food for thought.