June 5, 2019
If you’ve noticed that your smile doesn’t look quite like it used to, it may be that your gums aren’t as healthy as they once were. When your gums become red, puffy, and begin to bleed, you are experiencing the early stages of gum disease in North Sarasota. If treated early on, the condition can be easily reversed; however, if left to progress and worsen, it can be problematic for not only your oral health but your heart and brain. Find out what your dentist has to say about the possible link between gum health and brain function.
The Connection: Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease
While you might think all bacteria is bad, that’s not actually true. Our bodies produce good bacteria to help fight off the bad, but unfortunately, when it comes to gum disease, the bad bacteria can lead to worsening problems for your teeth and gums, as well as the potential for developing Alzheimer’s or dementia.
When researchers at The University of Central Lancashire School of Medicine and Dentistry, analyzed individuals who suffer from gum disease or poor oral hygiene, they discovered these individuals have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
As gum disease develops, your gums become inflamed, making them tender to the touch. You might also notice some sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures when eating or drinking. This is because the bacteria that is living in the gum pockets can enter your bloodstream, moving throughout your body and brain. At this point, your body’s immune system will begin to try and fight off any infection. Unfortunately, many of the beneficial neurons in your brain will be killed off in the process because of the inflammation that weakens your immune system. In turn, this can result in negative cognitive brain function.
Why Are Regular Checkups and Cleanings so Important?
Without regular dental cleanings and checkups, you are putting yourself at serious risk of developing many oral health problems, as well as developing cardiovascular, respiratory, and even neurological disorders. It may be hard to grasp just how big of a role your mouth plays in your overall health, but it does.
If you want to be sure to maintain optimal oral health, here are a few ways you can prevent gum disease from developing:
- Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet – This means limiting the amount of sugar you ingest, as it is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to thrive on.
- Quit smoking – This horrible habit weakens your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off infections.
- Start exercising – This is a great habit to commit to, as it helps with obesity and other health-related conditions.
- Keep your regular dental appointments – Make sure to visit your dentist in North Sarasota every six months.
- Maintain a good oral hygiene routine – Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes, flossing at least once a day, and rinsing your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash.
Don’t let your teeth and gums negatively affect your brain or heart health. If you’re concerned that you may be at risk for developing Alzheimer’s or dementia, talk to your dentist or doctor about ways you can prevent the symptoms.
About the Author
Dr. Warren Hoffman, DDS, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from SUNY Binghamton before going on to attend dental school in Baltimore, Maryland. Receiving his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, he completed an externship during his senior year, providing dental services to stationed members of the United States Coast Guard in Honolulu, Hawaii. At Parkway Ridge Dental, he and his team of dental professionals want you to have a beautiful, healthy smile, which is why they offer periodontal therapy for individuals with gum disease. To learn how this common condition can affect more than just your oral health, or for questions about our services, contact us at (941) 358-8830.