Mental Floss

Image courtesy of flickr.com/mattduke

Image courtesy of flickr.com/mattduke

You may have never heard of the word Porphyromonas gingivalis before unless you’ve sat through a dental school lecture.  However, most people have heard of Alzheimer’s disease.  A recent study at the University of Central Lancashire in England may have put the little-known bacteria P. gingivalis in the forefront of Alzheimer’s disease research.

Recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the study showed that evidence of P. gingivalis was found in 4 out of 10 brain tissue samples from Alzheimer’s patients, while no evidence of it was found in any of the 10 brain samples from patients of similar age with no signs of the disease.  P. gingivalis is typically found in the mouths of people who have untreated, advanced, destructive periodontal (or gum) disease.  Gum disease is typically a result of poor oral hygiene (such as improper or nonexistent brushing and flossing) and a lack of regular dental office cleanings.

The researchers stated that the study did not prove that the bacteria, or its byproducts, definitely caused Alzheimer’s disease, only that the bacteria were found in the brain.  Due to this finding, this leads to the need for further research.  P. gingivalis has also recently been noted in other studies on rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, low birth weight and diabetes.  Even though no hard evidence proves a definite causative relationship between gum disease and other diseases, it would seem prudent to have your gum disease issues treated rather than hoping it doesn’t affect your overall health.  Call my office today @ 893-5500 to set up a check-up.

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