Research Linking Gum Disease to Alzheimer’s Patients

Elderly ToothbrushingNew York University is among a long list of sites for research where evidence of oral-systemic health is consistently unraveled a bit more, year after year. Scientists at NYU believe that periodontal disease (gum disease) can increase the risk of lowered cognitive function in the elderly (commonly seen in Alzheimer’s disease patients). Much evidence has been uncovered throughout several years linking periodontal infection to a multitude of health issues which are most often seen in later years of life– heart disease, diabetes, strokes. Encinitas dentist, Dr. Ann Kania, will explain the details of a particular NYU research study which pinpoints gum inflammation having a link to brain inflammation.

Alzheimer’s and Gum Disease

Dr. Angela Kamer was an Assistant Professor of Periodontology & Implant Dentistry at NYU when the research took place. Dr. Kamer led a research team in examining over 20 years of collected data supporting a clear potential link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s . “The research suggests that cognitively normal subjects with periodontal inflammation are at an increased risk of lower cognitive function compared to cognitively normal subjects with little or no periodontal inflammation,” says Dr. Kamer. This research is backed up by studies, including another led by Dr. Kamer back in 2008. The plasma of subjects with Alzheimer’s disease was viewed for various properties. Data showed that these patients had a higher level of inflammatory molecules and antibodies associated with periodontal bacteria.

Details of the Study

The Glostrop Aging study data was used by Dr. Kamer’s research team in order to come up with a hypothesis. Periodontal inflammation as a catalyst for lowered cognitive function was studied in 152 Danish men and women over the age of 70. The Glostrop Aging study focused on medical, social, psychological, and oral health over two decades. The scientists used adult IQ tests to compare cognitive function from one volunteer to the next. Periodontal inflammation was strongly linked to lower scores on these cognitive tests. Dr. Kamer presented her team’s findings at the 2010 annual meeting of the International Association for Dental Research in Barcelona, Spain, providing even more data for future research to build on.

Comprehensive Dentistry Services from Encinitas Dentist

Are you overdue for a dental checkup? Are you concerned with unusual dental symptoms? You can contact Dr. Kania at our Encinitas periodontal care office by calling (706) 642-0711. We serve patients from Encinitas, San Diego, Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, La Costa, and the neighboring communities.