The relationship between gum disease and dementia
Periodontitis is not only one of the most common chronic diseases of the oral cavity, but also a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, a German research team confirmed in a recent study. Treating receding gums early and persistently can reduce the risk of developing dementia.
Researchers at the University of Greifswald discovered an association between periodontitis and dementia as part of an existing study. Those with chronic gum disease appear to be more likely to develop dementia than those without periodontal disease. The results of the research were recently published in the journal “Alzheimer’s disease and dementia” Foot.
Common pathological periodontitis
Periodontitis, a permanent inflammation of the supporting structures of the teeth, is one of the most common chronic diseases worldwide. In Germany alone, more than 11 million people suffer from a severe form of periodontitis. Periodontitis is the second most common oral disease after tooth decay.
Consequences of gum disease
Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss and have an impact on overall health. Because the disease is largely painless, it is often recognized and treated late. Researchers compare periodontitis to an iceberg – the majority of effects happen behind the scenes.
Dental disease affects public health
The impact of dental disease on public health has been researched for decades. Periodontitis, which affects between 15 and 45 percent of all people in this country, depending on the age group, has already been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Now researchers at the University Medical Center in Greifswald have confirmed the suspected link between Alzheimer’s disease and periodontitis.
Advanced statistics made it possible to prove it
“It is very difficult to conduct systematically meaningful studies on the effects of periodontal disease, a common severe form of periodontal disease,” Dr. Christian Schwan is from the Prosthetics, Geriatric Dentistry and Medical Materials Science Clinic. Only recently developed statistical models would have made such evidence possible.
Medium to strong correlation
For the first time, the link between periodontal disease treatment and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease was found in a quasi-experimental model of 177 patients treated orally in the Greifswald GANI-MED study (the Greifswald Individualized Medicine Approach) and 409 untreated patients. SHIP,” the dentist explains. In general, the association between Alzheimer’s disease and gum disease has been rated as moderate to strong.
Treating periodontal disease slowed brain matter loss
The MRI data from the participants served as an indicator of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Based on the data, a single measure of typical Alzheimer’s brain substance loss can be measured. By comparing the different participants, it was possible to show that the treatment of periodontitis reduces the loss of brain substance.
“These findings are notable insofar as periodontitis patients were <60 years old at the time of the MRI examination and the observation time between dental treatment and the MRI examination was a mean of 7.3 years for patients," summarized the study co-authors. Study by Professor Thomas Kocher and Professor Hans J.
Preventing Alzheimer’s disease by treating gum disease
“Our approach is clear in the prevention and timely treatment of periodontal disease, which can be caused by a large number of germs, in order to prevent such potential consequential damage in advance,” Kocher emphasizes.
According to the researchers, another approach is currently being used in American research work been tested. The main germ of periodontitis that has migrated to the brain is fought with medicines. Dr. confirms. Christian Schwan. Clinical study with placebo is not feasible in this area for ethical and medical reasons. (FP)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of the specialized medical literature, clinical guidelines and current studies and has been examined by medical professionals.
Diploma Editor (FH) Volker Plasik
- University of Greifswald: The Greifswald study confirms that periodontal disease increases the risk of dementia – prevention and timely treatment of periodontitis is important (published date: 04.06.2021), uni-greifswald.de
- Christian Schwann, Stefan Frenzel, Bert Holtfritter, et al.: Effect of periodontal treatment on preclinical Alzheimer’s disease–results of an empirical simulation approach; In: Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, 2021, alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.