Gum disease bacteria may play a role in Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study.
Researchers who studied deceased and living patients with Alzheimer’s found bacteria commonly associated with chronic gum disease in their brains.
Tests on mice confirmed the bacteria.
Bacteria Migrates to the Brain
Research says the bacteria, called porphyromonas gingivalis, migrates from the mouth to the brain, and then releases a toxic protein that destroys brain neurons.
The bacteria was also found to increase production of amyloid beta, a component of brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s.
The good news?
Further tests on mice showed that drugs that block the toxic proteins produced by the bacteria stopped brain degeneration.
Historical Link Between Gum Disease and Dementia
The study adds to evidence of a link between gum disease and dementia, but it’s still not clear if gum disease bacteria actually triggers Alzheimer’s.
Previous studies linking gum disease with dementia include one published last year that found that people with chronic gum disease for 10 years or more had a 70 percent higher risk of Alzheimer’s than those without gum disease.
Signs of Gum Disease
Early detection is critical if you notice signs of gum disease.
These signs include:
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