health day reporter
In a review of 47 previously published studies, researchers in Finland found tooth loss, deep surrounding pockets teeth Gum recession or alveolar bone loss was associated with a 21% increased risk of dementia and a 23% increased risk of mild cognitive decline.
Tooth loss itself — an indicator of gum or periodontal disease — was associated with a 23 percent increased risk of cognitive (mental) decline and a 13 percent increased risk of dementia, according to the study.
“Maintaining adequate periodontal health, including the preservation of healthy natural teeth, also appears to be important for preventing cognitive decline and dementia,” said lead researcher Sam Asher from the University of Eastern Finland’s Dental Research Institute in Kuopio.
Asher noted that the study could not prove gum problems Can actually cause dementia. Still, the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease is especially important for older adults who are at increased risk of Alzheimer’s, he said.
“Our findings also underscore the importance of oral health care for people who already have some degree of cognitive decline or dementia. These individuals often have difficulty maintaining oral hygiene and using professional oral health services,” Asher said.
Dentists should take note, he added. “Oral health professionals need to pay special attention to early changes in periodontal health and oral self-care that typically occur in older adults due to cognitive decline,” Asher said.
About 10 to 15 percent of adults worldwide suffer from an inflammation of the gums called periodontitis, the researchers note in a background note. In severe cases, it can lead to tooth loss, and previous research has linked it to heart disease and diabetes.
“Future research needs to focus on providing higher quality evidence to help the public and dental care professionals develop more specific oral care strategies to prevent dementia,” Asher added.
“There is growing evidence that there is a link between systemic inflammation and inflammation in the brain,” said Dr. Sam Gandy, director of the Mount Sinai Center for Cognitive Health in New York City.
Periodontal disease, systemic viral diseases, including herpes, COVID-19 and inflammatory bowel syndrome, can all trigger brain inflammation, said Gandy, who was not involved in the study.
“These associations do not necessarily involve direct microbial invasion of the brain, but we still know very little about the molecular basis of how systemic inflammation exacerbates brain inflammation,” he added.
Research in this area is still vague. According to a recent trial, treating Alzheimer’s patients with gum disease did not affect their condition, although it did affect markers associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Gandy said.
“Together, these results raise the possibility that biomarkers may be (at least in some cases) misleading. There is still no available evidence for large, long-term, expensive randomized clinical trials that can identify meaningful clinical benefit. Accepted alternatives. ,” he said.
The study cannot prove that inflammation caused by dental disease causes dementia, geriatric psychiatrist Dr. Jeremy Koppel and colleagues agree.–Director, Litwin-Zucker Alzheimer’s Research Center, Northwell Health, Manhasset, NY
“You don’t know if they have periodontal disease because they have Alzheimer’s or they have Alzheimer’s because of gum disease,” said Koper, who was not involved in the study .
In this study, the dementia risk associated with periodontal disease was very low, he noted. “The risk is probably almost neutral compared to the known disease risk,” Koper said. According to the study, those risks include smoking and an unhealthy diet.
Koppel doesn’t dismiss the importance of what’s happening in the mouth in relation to Alzheimer’s disease. He said research is being done on saliva to understand its effect on brain conditions.
“There is interest in looking for biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease-related brain proteins in saliva,” Kopel said.
Anti-inflammatory therapies have become a target for Alzheimer’s treatment, he said.
“But whether the mouth has other secrets hasn’t really been explored,” he added.
The report was published online on September 8 at Journal of the American Geriatrics Association .
For more information on dementia, go to the National Institute on Aging.
Sources: Sam Asher, MPH, Dental Institute, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio; Jeremy Koppel, MD, Geriatric Psychiatrist, co–Director, Northwell Health Litwin-Zucker Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Manhasset, NY; Sam Gandy, MD, PhD, Director, Mount Sinai Center for Cognitive Health, NYC; JJournal of the American Geriatrics Society, September 8, 2022, online